Education News Roundup: June 28, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

State Board and Equality Utah jointly ask for a stay in the LGBT lawsuit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alt (DN)

Kairos Academy will ask the State Charter Board for a hearing on the Board’s decision to revoke the charter.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alJ (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/alU (DN via KSL)

Nearly three dozen senators sign a letter of concern over Secretary DeVos’ civil rights enforcement.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alw (ProPublica)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/alx (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/alz (Time)
or a copy of the letter
http://gousoe.uen.org/aly (DocumentCloud)

Like Utah, New Hampshire is trying to figure out how to make competency-based education work.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alC (CSM)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Parties jointly ask judge to extend stay in LGBT lawsuit

Kairos Academy to ask for hearing over termination of charter

Utah’s partisan school board elections are unconstitutional and exclusionary, advocates say. Now they’re suing
School board races are nonparty affairs, but a 2016 law is set to change that next year.

Utah parents sue schools for lack of girls’ football teams

With no school in session, groups seek to ensure no children go hungry

Maple Mountain SkillsUSA welding students win at national event

Stewart launches school supply drive for Utah’s refugee children

Utah Middle School Students Write Letters to Gordon Hayward Begging Him to Stay

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Courtney Corbin

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Seth Arce

OPINION & COMMENTARY

We deserve nonpartisan elections in education

Senate health care bill threatens children’s health coverage

The Trinity Case: A Boost for Education Choice

Medicaid makes a big difference to special ed students

Supreme Court Religious Bonus
The Justices extend their Blaine ruling to school vouchers

The Senate Health Care Bill Would ‘Rip Away’ Supports In Schools

Failure of American schools to improve not just about money

NATION

Democratic Senators Condemn Betsy DeVos’ Record on Civil Rights
More than 30 ‘disappointed and alarmed’ senators penned a letter chastising civil rights enforcement at the Department of Education.

Why Betsy DeVos is cheering the Supreme Court’s church playground decision

The School Voucher Research Wars
Studies on school choice can offer little ammo for either side, but that hasn’t stopped opponents and proponents alike from firing away.

Test Drive: New Hampshire teachers build new ways to measure deeper learning
Schools across the country are watching as some New Hampshire schools start relying less on standardized testing and more on performance-based assessments.

GOP health-care bill could strip public schools of billions for special education

Control of biggest U.S. school system weighed by New York lawmakers

Nevada high schoolers gain no ground in college readiness scores

Idaho plan to cut achievement gap deemed too ambitious

Santa Fe Public Schools eyes scrapping letter grade ‘D’

For-profit charter operator lobbies for workplace schools

Adults See Black Girls as Less Innocent Than Their White Peers, Survey Finds

Kentucky public schools can develop Bible courses

Spokane schools delay sex ed plan amid concerns about Planned Parenthood

New Funding Model to Support Career and Technical Education Programs

What Happened to Amazon Inspire, the Tech Giant’s Education Marketplace?

CBS News investigation finds stunning lack of oversight of school bus drivers

I Am Learning Ingles: A Dual-Language Comic

Bill requiring driver’s ed for RI parents heads to Raimondo

Silly String fight results in federal lawsuit against Chariho, state education officials

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Parties jointly ask judge to extend stay in LGBT lawsuit

SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for Equality Utah and the Utah State Board of Education have jointly asked a federal judge to extend a stay through Sept. 15 in proceedings in the organization’s constitutional challenge of state education policies it says prohibit positive speech about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
The extension was requested because one of the parties who planned to attend a settlement conference scheduled for June 8 was unable to attend due to a family emergency.
The court rescheduled the settlement conference for Aug. 22 and 23.
“Extending the stay of proceedings in this case until Sept. 15, 2017, would allow the parties and this court to hold this conference, and implement the terms of any potential agreement,” the joint motion states.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alt (DN)

 

Kairos Academy to ask for hearing over termination of charter

SALT LAKE CITY — The board of directors of Kairos Academy, a public charter school in West Valley City that serves teen mothers and pregnant teens, plans to appeal a recent decision by the State Charter School Board to terminate its charter.
A press release issued by the school’s board of directors late Monday said it will seek a hearing before the State Charter School Board and, if necessary, an appeal to the elected Utah State Board of Education.
The school had been on probation for two years over concerns about enrollment and qualifications of its faculty.
“We believe that we have met and addressed the items outlined in the terms of probation. The school and its governing board feels that they did not receive clear guidance or direct, open communication from the State Charter Board to facilitate a successful completion of the probation process,” the press release states.
Jennifer Lambert, executive director of the State Charter School Board, said the office has not received a written request for an informal hearing, but Kairos Academy has until July 5 to make a request.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alJ (DN)

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

 

Utah’s partisan school board elections are unconstitutional and exclusionary, advocates say. Now they’re suing
School board races are nonparty affairs, but a 2016 law is set to change that next year.

A group of education-focused Utahns on Tuesday asked a state judge to toss out the 2016 law that requires partisan elections for the Utah State Board of Education on the grounds that it violates the state Constitution.
Set to take effect in 2018, SB78 violates the Utah Constitution’s ban on partisan tests or qualifications as a condition of employment in Utah schools and the principle of “one man, one vote,” the complaint filed in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court asserts.
The lawsuit also seeks an injunction to halt the implementation, enforcement and administration of the law by the state elections office.
At its core, the lawsuit contends that partisan elections will lead to an educational system that is driven by a single, political ideology that will influence curriculum and policy in state schools.
“Our children should be taught how to think, not what to think,” Sheryl Allen, a former state representative from Davis County and vice chairwoman of Utahns for Public Schools, said at a news conference Tuesday.
The education advocacy group is named as a plaintiff in the case, along with Utah’s Parent Teacher Association; Alliance for a Better Utah Education Fund; Carol Lear, a current state schools board member; and three other individuals who plan to run for school board seats.
Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox is named as a defendant. His office oversees state elections and SB78 enacted changes to election law.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alu (SLT)

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

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

 

Utah parents sue schools for lack of girls’ football teams

SALT LAKE CITY — The parents of six Utah high school students have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against three school districts that don’t have a girls’ football team.
The parents claim Jordan, Canyon and Granite districts are discriminating against female students by not having a football team.
The parents also are suing the Utah High School Activities Association and the districts’ superintendents.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alP (AP via CVD)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/amd (Salon.com)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ame ([Washington, DC] Daily Caller)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ami (Breitbart)

http://gousoe.uen.org/amf (USAT)

 

With no school in session, groups seek to ensure no children go hungry

Without the constancy of school, summer creates a void in students lives, and that can even extend to the food they are eating.
School districts across the county and additional organizations are looking to restore the balance by making healthy breakfasts and lunches available to any students at schools, parks or libraries through summer food programs.
“It’s a great, safe place to go where you can have the kids go and enjoy a nice healthy meal,” Marti Woolford, a child nutrition advocate with Utahns Against Hunger, said.
This year there are about 250 places serving food to children 18 and younger scattered across the state, and 27 of them are located in Utah County, according to Utahns Against Hunger. Last summer, more than 1 million meals were served to kids in Utah.
“When school gets out we know kids lose access to school nutrition programs, so the summer food program is designed to fill that gap,” Woolford said. “What is really great is it’s the same folks who are feeding kids during the school year feeding them during the summer.”
Many of the locations are at schools, but some are at parks, libraries or splash pads. Woolford said the feelings of community that thrives around summer meal programs are special.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alL (PDH)

 

Maple Mountain SkillsUSA welding students win at national event

The Maple Mountain High students in Nebo School District won first place at nationals at the SkillsUSA Welding Fabrication competition in Louisville, Kentucky. The National Champions are Tosh Davis, Ben Warnick and Tyler Christmas. Jared Massic is their welding adviser.
There were 37 state champion teams that competed, so they were up against some very challenging competition, according to parent Lorraine Davis.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alO (PDH)

 

Stewart launches school supply drive for Utah’s refugee children

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, has launched a school supply drive to collect supplies to help refugee children living in Utah.
The drive, called “Reaching Out to Refugees: Back to School Drive,” will run through Aug. 11. Supplies can be mailed or dropped off to Stewart’s Salt Lake City and St. George offices. See addresses below.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alR (SGN)

 

Utah Middle School Students Write Letters to Gordon Hayward Begging Him to Stay

Gordon Hayward is looking at a huge payday one way or another this offseason, but no one really knows (perhaps not even Hayward) if his future checks will be coming from the Utah Jazz. A number of teams will offer max contracts to Hayward, but students at one school are offering some kind words up in the hope that their pleas for him to stay sweeten the deal.
According to this tweet, Robin Hayward, Gordon’s wife, has shared some moving and thoughtful letters from kids attending Tooele Junior High asking Hayward to stick around.
http://gousoe.uen.org/amk (TotalProSports.com)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aml (Boston.com)

http://gousoe.uen.org/amm (UPROXX)

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Courtney Corbin

Courtney Corbin, a fifth-grade teacher at Taylor Elementary in Nebo School District, is being recognized as the Daily Herald’s Utah Valley Educator of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alM (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Seth Arce

Seth Arce, a soon-to-be sixth grader at Westside Elementary in Nebo School District, is being recognized as the Daily Herald’s Utah Valley Student of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alN (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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We deserve nonpartisan elections in education
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Sheryl Allen, a former state legislator and a board member of both Utahns for Public Schools and Alliance for a Better Utah

The 2018 election year will be different, very different. We’ll be voting on many elected officials. All of them will be important. But elections for the Utah State Board of Education will be altered. For the first time in decades, those elections will be partisan.
Yes, that means candidates will be running, if they want to win, as either a Republican or a Democrat. This is because of a last-minute amendment to SB 78 that was passed by the Legislature in 2016.
If board members are partisan (e.g., they run for this office as a member of a political party), they are obligated as an elected official of their party to have allegiance to their identified party’s platform. Some Republican officials have even required a “loyalty oath” to the party platform as a condition of seeking a Republican nomination. When board candidates seek to become their party’s candidate, they will be judged by their adherence to that platform.
Yet Utah Code requires that boards, “shall design their school programs that are suggested by generally accepted scientific standards of evidence, to focus on the core standards for Utah public schools.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/als

 

Senate health care bill threatens children’s health coverage
Deseret News op-ed by Bill Cosgrove, immediate past-president of the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Jessie Mandle, Senior Health Policy Analyst with Voices for Utah Children, and Gina Pola-Money, Director of Utah Family Voices

The Medicaid program has been in the news a lot lately because of the massive proposed federal cuts to the program as part of Congress’ efforts to repeal Obamacare. Many people know Medicaid as the health care program for poor people and people with disabilities, but mainly Medicaid is a children’s program.
In Utah, the vast majority of people enrolled in Medicaid are children. Medicaid provides health insurance coverage to around 200,000 of Utah’s children. There are also about 20,000 children enrolled in Utah’s CHIP or Children’s Health Insurance Program, and about 40,000 Utah children in the “Obamacare” health care exchange. Together these three programs have helped us make historic progress for children’s coverage in Utah: we are at an all-time low for uninsured children in our state. But clearly Medicaid is the foundation that this tremendous progress has been built on.
With the highest birth rate in the nation, Utah is well-known as a state that values and prioritizes children and families. As our state population continues to grow, it is critical that we have a trusted health care safety net for families who have temporarily fallen on hard times and children with special health care needs. Medicaid is that vital lifeline for families.
But now the federal government is proposing vast cuts and changes to the Medicaid program overall. What does that mean here in Utah? It means less public money for children in poverty and children with special needs. Reduced funding means fewer health services for kids, or fewer kids able to get care.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alK

 

The Trinity Case: A Boost for Education Choice
Sutherland Institute commentary by education policy analyst Christine Cooke

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 7-2 decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer is a reason to celebrate for education choice advocates. The decision deals a blow to one of the biggest obstacles to school choice efforts — state Blaine amendments.
While the Court looked at the narrow question of whether the state could exclude churches from state programs that have secular intent — specifically the denial of a playground resurfacing grant to a religious preschool — many education choice advocates see the decision as opening the door for an additional legal question: must a state Blaine amendment keep a student from using a state scholarship on an educational choice program simply because it’s a religious school?
For too long state Blaine amendments — remnants of anti-Catholic bigotry, which prohibit public funding from going to religious institutions — have kept educational options out of reach for students that need them. We believe the Trinity decision should embolden education choice efforts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alS

 

Medicaid makes a big difference to special ed students
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Elizabeth Ann Ellingson Spencer

As a special education teacher, I have reason to be nervous about Medicaid cuts.
Medicaid is an efficient way to provide related services for students with disabilities. Basic needs must be met for a student to learn — they need food, rest, restroom access, etc. Many students need extra help to access these.
Nurses teach me to tube-feed and care for students who have seizures, wheelchairs and other medical needs. Physical therapists ensure students are lifted to changing tables without injury. Speech therapists teach students to communicate, so their needs are met without acting out. Classroom aides work to feed, toilet, teach and assist students.
Medicaid pays for people who support Utah children, without whom I could not teach.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alI

 

Supreme Court Religious Bonus
The Justices extend their Blaine ruling to school vouchers
Wall Street Journal editorial

Good news: Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on religious liberty was even better than we thought. The Justices ruled 7-2 that a church could not be banned from a public benefit program merely because it is a church. On Tuesday the Justices extended that principle by overturning a ruling that struck down Colorado’s school voucher program on religious grounds.
In 2011, Colorado’s Douglas County adopted a Choice Scholarship Program to let 500 students attend a local private school. But groups including the American Civil Liberties Union sued. The Colorado Supreme Court killed the program citing the state’s version of the Blaine Amendment, one of many state anti-Catholic laws from the 1800s to prevent public money from funding religious schools ( Doyle v. Taxpayers for Public Education).
The Douglas County School District and the Institute for Justice, which represents three families in Colorado, appealed to the Supreme Court in 2015, but the Justices held the petition pending the resolution of Trinity Lutheran v. Comer on Monday. On Tuesday the Court vacated and remanded Doyle to the lower court for reconsideration in keeping with Trinity Lutheran’s holding that Missouri’s application of the Blaine Amendment violated the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.
The High Court typically vacates and remands only when the Justices think there is a “reasonable probability” that the lower court got it wrong. Colorado’s do-over is a warning to other states that might use Blaine Amendments to derail school choice programs that threaten teachers unions and the public school monopoly.
The win comes at a good time for school choice advocates who have been building momentum in the states.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alE $

 

The Senate Health Care Bill Would ‘Rip Away’ Supports In Schools
Time op-ed by Randi Weingarten, president of American Federation of Teachers, and Daniel Domenech, executive director of AASA, The School Superintendents Association

What does Medicaid have to do with schools? The answer is, plenty.
For millions of children, the health screenings and services they receive at school serve as a critical lifeline. Schools use Medicaid funding to provide basic health screenings for vision, hearing and mental health problems. For many children, this is their only interaction with a health professional all year.
Seventy-eight percent of school districts use Medicaid funding to hire school nurses, social workers and psychologists, speech-language pathologists, and other health professionals.
Medicaid funding is especially vital for children with special needs; it ensures schools have the resources for wheelchairs, feeding tubes, specialized playground equipment, medicine, and equipment to assist with seeing and hearing, as well as the staff to support these students. And for children with asthma and other chronic conditions, Medicaid funding means there’s always a health professional on site in an emergency.
The healthcare bill being considered in the Senate would rip away these supports and jeopardize school staff’s ability to make sure every child who steps into a classroom is ready to learn. We strongly oppose this flawed proposal to block-grant the Medicaid program; children cannot learn to their fullest potential with unmet health needs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alA

Failure of American schools to improve not just about money
Chicago Sun-Times commentary by John Stossel, author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed”

Every year, almost every industry improves.
We get more choices — usually better choices, for less money.
“But of all the products we make and the services we provide, there’s one that stands out as an exception,” according to the Cato Institute’s Andrew Coulson. “One activity in which excellence doesn’t spawn countless imitators or spread on a massive scale: schooling.”
Why not? What can be done about it? These questions are asked and often answered by Coulson’s new PBS TV series “School Inc.”, which can be viewed online. It’s a wonderful three hours, reaching back years to America’s first experiments in education and traveling the world to look at schools in Chile, England, Sweden, India and Korea. In Korea, top teachers make millions.
Why haven’t American schools improved? The education establishment says, “We don’t have enough money!” But American schools spend more per student than other countries. Spending tripled during Coulson’s lifetime and class sizes dropped. But test scores stay flat.
“Schools adopted all sorts of new technologies, from projectors to personal computers to ‘smart’ whiteboards,” says Coulson. “None of these inventions improved outcomes.¬≠ (E)ducational quality has been stuck in the era of disco and leisure suits for 40 years, while the rest of the world has passed it by.”
The main reason for that is that most schools are controlled by government. Government is a monopoly, and monopolies resist change.
http://gousoe.uen.org/amb

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Democratic Senators Condemn Betsy DeVos’ Record on Civil Rights
More than 30 ‘disappointed and alarmed’ senators penned a letter chastising civil rights enforcement at the Department of Education.
ProPublica

In a letter sent today, more than 30 Democratic senators rebuked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for scaling back civil rights enforcement at the Department of Education.
“You claim to support civil rights and oppose discrimination, but your actions belie your assurances,” wrote the senators, who said that the secretary’s recent moves to curtail civil rights efforts heightened their longstanding concerns about her commitment to protecting students from discrimination and harassment.
As ProPublica has reported, the Department of Education quietly laid out plans to scale back investigations into civil rights complaints in an internal staff memo earlier this month.
Under the Obama administration, the department’s civil rights investigators applied a broad approach to investigating complaints, often widening probes to look for patterns of harassment or discrimination in schools or districts. Investigators were frequently required to obtain multiple years of data to assess whether civil rights violations were systemic in nature.
In the recent memo, acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson instructed her staff to narrow this approach. Under the new directive, civil rights staffers will only look for systemic violations if the original complaint raises such concerns or the investigative team suggests it.
“Limiting use of the systematic approach may cause investigators to miss issues of pervasive discrimination or civil rights abuses,” wrote the senators in their letter.
The Education Department did not respond to ProPublica’s request for comment.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alw

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/alz (Time)

A copy of the letter
http://gousoe.uen.org/aly (DocumentCloud)

 

Why Betsy DeVos is cheering the Supreme Court’s church playground decision
Washington Post

Advocates for private-school vouchers this week cheered the Supreme Court’s decision that the state of Missouri may not deny a playground resurfacing grant to a church, calling the decision a first step toward an end to state bans on using public money to pay tuition at parochial schools.
And on Tuesday, the high court telegraphed that the church-playground ruling could indeed bring about a new legal calculus on school choice. It directed the Colorado Supreme Court to reconsider an earlier decision to strike down private-school vouchers because they violated a state prohibition on public support for religious activities.
“School choice is on a great footing,” said Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which advocates for private-school voucher programs.
“The court’s reasoning sends a strong signal that just as the court would not tolerate the exclusion of a church from a playground resurfacing program, it will not tolerate the exclusion of a child from a school-choice program solely because they want to use a scholarship at a religious school.”
Voucher opponents said they were disappointed by the court’s decision to allow public money to go to a religious facility, saying it chipped away at the separation of church and state. But they emphasized that the court’s majority opinion was narrowly written and does not broach questions about whether taxpayer dollars may be used for religious purposes such as religious education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alY

 

The School Voucher Research Wars
Studies on school choice can offer little ammo for either side, but that hasn’t stopped opponents and proponents alike from firing away.
U.S. News & World Report

When researchers released new studies on the effectiveness of private school voucher programs in Louisiana and Indiana this week, advocates and opponents of such policies were quick to parse the findings and plant a victory flag for their respective causes.
The president of the 1.5-million member American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, said the findings from Indiana showed “negative or negligible results for student outcomes.”
“This latest study of vouchers,” she said, “should be yet another red flag to [Education Secretary Betsy] DeVos that she is going down the wrong path and it will hurt all students in the end.”
Of the same study, the Center for Education Reform — a private school choice-friendly organization — had this to say: “Not only do the [voucher] kids do better over time than their comparison groups but the kids who didn’t take the vouchers also do better.”
In reality, the studies do little to bolster arguments for either side: Overall, they showed little difference in academic achievement between students enrolled in private schools through a voucher program and their public school counterparts. But that didn’t stop advocacy organizations, politicians and policymakers from cherry-picking their preferred results, as has become the gold standard in recent years.
“We all know that in the policy fray, sometimes people pull the evidence that they find most aligned with the arguments they were already pre-inclined to support,” Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, said Monday during a panel discussion in Washington. “Part of what we try to do is help people sort through the significance of aligned but sometimes conflicting research and help them figure out what are the conclusions that one can rightly draw.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/ama

 

Test Drive: New Hampshire teachers build new ways to measure deeper learning
Schools across the country are watching as some New Hampshire schools start relying less on standardized testing and more on performance-based assessments.
Christian Science Monitor

CONCORD AND ROCHESTER, N.H. — Just outside Concord High School, a delivery truck has spilled its chemical supplies. The students’ mission: Investigate the properties of the spill and develop a detailed plan to clean it up safely.
Teenagers wearing safety goggles squat down, sucking up samples of the clear liquid with pipettes. The simulated spill has been “contained¬°”in a fish tank. But the students play along, first by developing some “testable questions” with their partners: How acidic is it? How does it compare with the properties of each substance on the truck?
They’ll have four class periods over the course of several days to collect and record data with assigned partners, and to write up, individually, their plans.
Increasingly, this is what testing looks like in New Hampshire. It’s an activity, much like work students have done in class, though more extensive. They can refer to their notes. What they can’t do is guess.
“Making them get up and kind of prove [their understanding] is a lot more telling than giving them multiple-choice or essay questions, where it’s kind of just repeating what you’ve taught them,” says Concord chemistry teacher Lyn Vinskus.
New Hampshire is at the forefront of a movement being watched by schools across the country.
For more than a decade, schools in the Granite State have been transitioning to competency-based education, in which students are asked to demonstrate mastery of essential skills rather than simply spend a certain amount of time in class and get a minimum passing grade. The focus is on the kinds of skills — analysis, reflection, creativity, and strategic thinking — today’s students will need in order to thrive in an unpredictable world.
But new teaching methods require new types of testing. So the state decided to put teachers in the driver’s seat.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alC

 

GOP health-care bill could strip public schools of billions for special education
Washington Post

School superintendents across the country are raising alarms about the possibility that Republican health care legislation would curtail billions of dollars in annual funding they count on to help students with disabilities and poor children.
For the past three decades, Medicaid has helped pay for services and equipment that schools provide to special-education students, as well as school-based health screening and treatment for children from low-income families. Now, educators from rural red states to the blue coasts are warning that the GOP push to shrink Medicaid spending will strip schools of what a national superintendents association estimates at up to $4 billion per year.
That money pays for nurses, social workers, physical, occupational and speech therapists and medical equipment like walkers and wheelchairs. It also pays for preventive and comprehensive health services for poor children, including immunizations, screening for hearing and vision problems and management of chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes.
Many school districts, already squeezed by shrinking state education budgets, say that to fill the hole they anticipate would be left by the Republican push to restructure Medicaid, they would either have to cut those services or downsize general education programs that serve all students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alX

 

Control of biggest U.S. school system weighed by New York lawmakers
Reuters

New York state lawmakers returned to the legislature on Wednesday for a special session to consider granting New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a one-year extension to control the city’s public school system, the largest in the United States.
Unless the New York State Legislature acts, control of the education system that serves 1.1 million students reverts on Friday to the state’s Board of Education.
Governor Andrew Cuomo called vacationing lawmakers back to the statehouse in Albany a week after they adjourned their regular 2017 session.
Mayoral control of city schools was started by de Blasio’s predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, who convinced the legislature to grant him leadership for seven years in 2002, and a six-year extension in 2009. De Blasio has been granted only annual renewals by lawmakers who have used that leverage for political horsetrading.
“Since (Bloomberg) achieved mayoral control of education, our graduation rate has gone up almost 50 percent in 15 years — 50 percent!” de Blasio said on WCBS Radio on Wednesday.
“That should be enough for everyone to agree this is the way to run our schools,” de Blasio said.
Previously, schools were run by 32 local school boards “with no accountability,” the mayor said. “Unfortunately it was a time characterized by chaos and corruption.”
Opinion polls over the last three years showed voters do not want mayoral control of schools, with a 2017 Quinnipiac University poll showing voters opposed 68 percent to 21 percent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alZ

http://gousoe.uen.org/amg (NYT)

 

Nevada high schoolers gain no ground in college readiness scores
Las Vegas Review-Journal

An ambitious goal to improve Nevada students’ performance on a college readiness test might take a little longer to get moving.
For the third consecutive year, the average ACT score of more than 34,000 students in the state — the majority of them high school juniors — was stagnant at 17.4 out of 36 points on the nationwide college entrance exam.
Only 10 percent scored high enough to be considered “college-ready” by the exam’s standards, according to the state.
State Superintendent Steve Canavero said Tuesday he was disappointed and frustrated, calling the results unacceptable.
“Our communities in Nevada face challenges. Those challenges, we know, impact the education of our students,” he said. “I fundamentally reject that those challenges are unique or different than challenges facing other states who have achieved these benchmarks or higher. Our kids are capable.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/alB

 

Idaho plan to cut achievement gap deemed too ambitious
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho — The latest plan to close Idaho’s student achievement gap needs tweaking after being told the goal was too ambitious and unrealistic, state education officials said.
Representatives with the Idaho Department of Education told House and Senate education committee members on Tuesday that they are revising the state’s draft school accountability plan to make it more feasible for public schools to meet the newest benchmarks.
“It was decided that we had erred too high on the ambitious side and so we are going to revise the methodology,” said Duncan Robb, chief policy adviser to state schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra.
All states are required to submit plans in September under the 2015 federal Every Student Succeeds Act. U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will decide whether to accept or reject the plans. She has said her goal is state and local flexibility in education and indicated that she might use the process to advance school choice.
Robb said the department agreed to make changes to the draft plan after meeting with various education groups and lawmakers on Monday.
Currently, the draft plan seeks to slash the number of students who aren’t 100 proficient in reading and math by half over the next six years. In Idaho, 53 percent of all students were proficient in reading and language arts as of 2016. The plan would set a new goal of moving that baseline to more than 76 percent proficient by 2022.
http://gousoe.uen.org/am9

 

Santa Fe Public Schools eyes scrapping letter grade ‘D’
Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. — One of New Mexico’s biggest school districts is mulling scrapping the letter grade “D” to raise graduation standards amid similar changes in other school districts across the country.
According to a plan under consideration by the board of Santa Fe Public Schools, the district would eliminate the D grade from its scale and force struggling students to shoot for at least a “C.”
Board member Steve Carrillo introduced the proposal this month and said the plan is modeled after ones adopted in school districts in New Jersey. Carrillo said the change will “raise the bar” for students.
“A D is not really helping our kids,” school board member Maureen Cashmon told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “It’s not showing that they know the material. Especially in high school. . We are not doing our kids any favor by letting them have D’s on their transcripts.”
If the D grade is eliminated, students would need at least a C average to graduate from high school.
But the plan — and others like it — is drawing scrutiny from some educators, especially from those concern how it might affect students of color.
http://gousoe.uen.org/am3

 

For-profit charter operator lobbies for workplace schools
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — One of the country’s largest for-profit charter school management companies is lobbying North Carolina legislators to create a new market for a type of school only rarely attempted.
Proposed legislation would allow corporations that help build or equip taxpayer-funded charter schools to reserve half the seats in those schools as an employee perk. The only workplace charter now operating in the country is affiliated with a massive retirement community in central Florida.
Florida-based Charter Schools USA thinks allowing workplace charter schools will let the private sector help fund school startups where states don’t.
http://gousoe.uen.org/am0

 

Adults See Black Girls as Less Innocent Than Their White Peers, Survey Finds
Education Week

Adults see black girls as less innocent, more independent, and less in need of nurturing and protection than their white peers, a report released Tuesday by Georgetown University says.
The report is the first to explore perceptions of black girls, building on previous research that found black boys are wrongly perceived as older than they actually are and more likely to be viewed as guilty when they are suspected of a crime. It’s a trend researchers call the “adultification” of black children.
The results carry implications for fields from education to criminal justice, and they may help explain why black girls are disciplined in school at disproportionately high rates compared to their peers of other races, say the authors of the report, called “Girlhood Interrupted: The Erasure of Black Girls’ Childhood.”
“Simply put, if authorities in public systems view Black girls as less innocent, less needing of protection, and generally more like adults, it appears likely that they would also view Black girls as more culpable for their actions and, on that basis, punish them more harshly despite their status as children,” the report says.
The study is based on responses to a nine-item survey by 325 adults recruited through an online service, a relatively small sample size compared to many other research projects. But the report’s authors — Jamilia Blake, an associate professor at Texas A&M University; Rebecca Epstein, the executive director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality; and Thalia Gonzalez, an associate professor at Occidental College — say the findings should spur further research into the well-being and perception of black girls, who have received less attention than their male peers in recent years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/am4

http://gousoe.uen.org/am6 (WaPo)

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/am5 (Georgetown University)

 

Kentucky public schools can develop Bible courses
Fox

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin signed a bill Tuesday allowing Bible courses to be taught in public schools.
The bill allows local school boards the option of developing a class for students to understand the role the Bible played in American history, according to WDRB-TV. The class would be an elective.
“The idea that we would not want this to be an option for people in school, that would be crazy. I don’t know why every state would not embrace this, why we as a nation would not embrace this,” Bevin, who is a Republican, said during a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.
Rep. D.J. Johnson, R-Owensboro, sponsored the bill and said the Bible was the foundation for the developments of the Declaration of Independence and other important documents in U.S. history.
http://gousoe.uen.org/amc

 

Spokane schools delay sex ed plan amid concerns about Planned Parenthood
Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review

School administrators have delayed making a divisive decision on a sex education curriculum.
The Spokane Public Schools board was scheduled to vote Wednesday on adopting a new middle school sex education curriculum that was partially developed by Planned Parenthood. The curriculum would have replaced the current human growth and development course.
However, on Monday morning one of the 15 members of the Human Growth and Development Citizen Advisory Committee withdrew support.
The move prompted district administrators to postpone presenting the curriculum to board members, said Superintendent Shelley Redinger.
“It just needs more vetting,” she said.
One of the curriculum’s stated goals is to promote discussion about sex and sexuality in an effort to “delay sex among middle school students.” The curriculum also teaches about LGBTQ issues and terminology. It fulfills Washington state sex education requirements.
http://gousoe.uen.org/amh

 

New Funding Model to Support Career and Technical Education Programs
Education Week

Four organizations have been chosen to create or expand career and technical education programs through a grant-funding model that requires government agencies to pay for the projects only after they’ve proven they’re successful.
Advanced by President Barack Obama, the “pay for success” approach pools private investments to fund projects supported by the U.S. government — in this case, career and technical education programs — with a promise of government reimbursement if the project proves its effectiveness.
On Tuesday, Jobs for the Future, a group that works on education issues, and Social Finance, an organization that assembles funding, announced the four CTE projects that will launch through the U.S. Department of Education’s “pay for success” grant program. Last October, Jobs for the Future and Social Finance won a $2 million grant from the department — its first under the “pay for success model” — to solicit possible projects. Now the two groups have chosen the projects that will move forward.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alD

 

What Happened to Amazon Inspire, the Tech Giant’s Education Marketplace?
(Burlingame, CA) EdSurge

Last summer the world’s largest online retailer launched Amazon Inspire, touting it as a hub for educators to exchange lesson plans and other Open Education Resources. But a year later, the site remains in limited, invitation-only beta. Some wonder when it will be open to the wider education community (and what the company’s broader education strategy is).
The ambitious project stumbled just one day after it launched, when some educators complained that their teaching materials had been posted by other users without permission. As a story in The New York Times noted at the time, Amazon Inspire appeared to have opened without a system in place to review whether users were violating copyright when they uploaded materials — systems that are standard on YouTube and other collections of user-generated content.
At the time, the company got a talking to from teachers in comments on its Facebook page for Amazon Education. As one teacher put it: “Teachers are always so caring and giving and in most cases grossly underpaid. The resources that we create take hours and hours to create and to expect that our intellectual property should be given away freely is appalling, immoral and illegal.”
Amazon officials took down the offending content and pledged to quickly put a review system in place. Since then, the service has had a much lower profile — in fact, several educators asked about the service this week had either forgotten about it or never heard of Inspire. Even some who were invited to be beta testers say they sometimes had trouble getting to it, seeing only a message saying the site was temporarily down for maintenance.
The Amazon executive who spearheaded the creation of Inspire, Rohit Agarwal, left the company in March “to pursue other opportunities.” That official Facebook page for Amazon Education hasn’t been updated since June 30, 2016.
http://gousoe.uen.org/am7

 

CBS News investigation finds stunning lack of oversight of school bus drivers
CBS

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Every day, 60 school bus drivers get into accidents. That’s about 22,000 bus crashes a year, injuring thousands of students.
But the problems are much worse than just traffic accidents. A CBS News investigation found a stunning lack of oversight of school bus drivers.
On average, at least once a week a driver is arrested for driving under the influence or child pornography, or even sexually assaulting a child.
http://gousoe.uen.org/alF

 

I Am Learning Ingles: A Dual-Language Comic
NPR

http://gousoe.uen.org/alW

 

Bill requiring driver’s ed for RI parents heads to Raimondo
(Providence, RI) WPRI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Gov. Gina Raimondo could soon determine whether many parents will be required to take their own version of driver’s ed in order for their teenagers to get behind the wheel.
The General Assembly gave final approval Monday to legislation creating a new education course that would be required for parents who want their children to get a driver’s license before age 18. The bill passed the House 55-11 on a nearly party-line vote, with most Republicans voting no. It passed the Senate 26-9 earlier this month.
Raimondo will now have to decide whether to sign or veto the bill.
Supporters said the bill ensures parents are knowledgeable about the “privileges and responsibilities” that come with driving, including limited instructional permits and limited provisional licenses. Lawmakers said that when parents are more educated about driving laws, teenagers are generally more safe behind the wheel.
Under the legislation, at least one parent of a 16- or 17-year-old aspiring driver would have to take the course.
http://gousoe.uen.org/am2

 

Silly String fight results in federal lawsuit against Chariho, state education officials
(Pawcatuck, CT) The Westerly Sun

WOOD RIVER JUNCTION — The parents of a former student at Chariho High School are suing the school district, several district employees, the Chariho School Committee and the state over an incident which they claim has left their daughter with a seizure disorder and permanently damaged her academic record.
The 49-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court on June 6 by Mark and Beth Zell of North Kingstown, alleges that the school district and its employees distorted facts and attempted to cover up an incident involving their daughter, “K.Z.,” a minor at the time, and another student, Rachel McGinley.
“We have significant documentation and video evidence supporting all claims in the federal suit including constitutional conspiracy and violation of due process,” said attorney Paige Munro-Delotto, who is representing the Zells. “Once the court views the details supporting our suit, we are confident that justice will prevail.”
The case stems from an incident in October 2015 involving a can of silly string.
The incident took place in a Chariho hallway during Spirit Week. The Zells’ complaint alleges that while taking part in the festivities, K.Z. inadvertently sprayed McGinley with silly string, and that McGinley retaliated by hitting K.Z. several times on the head with her cell phone, causing a concussion.
The incident was captured in a seven-minute video, which each party in the case interprets differently. The Zells’ complaint argues that the video shows the unprovoked brutality of McGinley’s attack on K.Z.
http://gousoe.uen.org/am1

 

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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 27:

Utah Tax Review Commission meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00002966.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

July 26:

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

August 11:

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

August 23:

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

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