Education News Roundup: July 5, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Trib looks at differences in teacher pay among Utah districts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anJ (SLT)

Provo School District is encouraging students to look at an education career with a new class.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anM (PDH)

Kairos Academy initiates some changes in hopes of regaining its charter.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anR (SLT)

School superintendents across the country are lobbying against the GOP healthcare bill over cuts in Medicaid.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anO (Politico)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

What happens to Utah schools when the district next door can pay its teachers more?
In the race to entice teachers with higher pay, schools in Logan, Ogden and Provo face heightened competition from surrounding districts.

Provo school district launching class to solve its teacher shortage

West Valley City charter school for teen moms will replace administrators in bid to fight forced closure
Kairos Academy » Petition drive, administrative shake-up result in hearing on decision to close school for pregnant teens and young mothers.

An app for that: Valley middle-schoolers build own apps at USU camp

STEM Mentor Exchange Mobile App Is Live, Time To Connect Teachers With Industry Mentors
Help out Utah’s children and volunteer today.

Logan High principal continues to overcome challenges

Friends remember Ogden teacher Cheryl Baker as an ‘artistic, kind, gentle woman’

Utah’s Summer Food Program Seeks To Reach Kids Where They Are

How to keep kids entertained all summer long

For kids, by kids: ARTcetera keeps kids creating all summer long

Program helping Boulders’ kids avoid summer brain drain

Nebo names district teachers of the year

St. George students earn SkillsUSA awards

Grants awarded for school needs by Nebo Education Foundation

Nebo PEAK Award winners announced

Getting dirty: USU preschool celebrates International Mud Day

Charter school HQ opens up in old Macy’s building

Colorado company to test oil shale tech in Utah

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Political fireworks lighting up Utah and the nation

Girls Code
They code some really cool stuff, to be precise.

Everyone should read this book

Time to rethink priorities

Disturbed by change in Pledge of Allegiance

Fidget spinners

The Supreme Court’s modest decision on a controversial church-state question

Trump Ed. Dept. Gives ESSA Feedback to Five More States

Stop the School Staffing Surge
Too much public school money has been spent on hiring non-teaching staff.

In the knowledge economy, we need a Netflix of education

Should you sign a club contract to only play one sport?

NATION

Red-state school leaders vent frustrations with GOP health bill
They say Medicaid funding cuts would hamper their ability to serve low-income and special education students.

US schools rethink meal-debt policies that humiliate kids

NEA President: There Will Be No Photo Ops With DeVos

Teachers Union Adopts New, Anti-Charter School Policy
The policy statement aims to limit charter school growth and increase accountability.

Science teachers: DeVos’s Education Department is misinterpreting federal law

Chicago won’t allow high school students to graduate without a plan for the future

Pre-test jitters? Here’s how teachers are helping students de-stress

The Diminishing Role of Art in Children’s Lives
Kids have fewer opportunities to do art in school and at home—and that could have long-term consequences.

 

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UTAH NEWS
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What happens to Utah schools when the district next door can pay its teachers more?
In the race to entice teachers with higher pay, schools in Logan, Ogden and Provo face heightened competition from surrounding districts.

Logan City School Superintendent Frank Schofield is sweating, and not because of the summer heat.
His district’s board recently approved a $2,000 increase in salary for first-year teachers — boosting it to $37,643 — and a corresponding 4.2 percent raise for veteran educators.
But Logan is surrounded on all sides by the Cache County School District, which adopted a salary schedule that pays a beginning teacher more than $40,000.
“We’re perspiring,” Schofield said. “We’re not drenched, but we’ve got some extra deodorant in the office just in case.”
School districts throughout the state have recently announced and approved significant pay hikes in an effort to hire and hold onto classroom faculty.
Statewide, more than half of all new teachers abandon the profession in their first five years, and the pool of college and university graduates to replace them is ever-shrinking as fewer adults opt for education careers.
The shortage creates a staffing competition, which is keenly felt by so-called “doughnut hole” districts — usually serving a single city — that are surrounded by county districts.
In those areas — Logan and Provo, in particular — a larger paycheck can be obtained by driving a few miles in any direction.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anJ (SLT)

 

Provo school district launching class to solve its teacher shortage

Provo City School District is taking a step to solve the statewide teacher shortage by giving its students an early opportunity to learn about becoming a teacher.
Careers in Education I will be available this fall at Provo and Timpview high schools. The class is designed to be an exploratory course for students interested in a career in education and plans to include an internship experience at either a school or in an area of interest.
“The real goal here is to grow our own, to make at least one step in the state of Utah to solve our own teacher shortage with our own students,” said Superintendent Keith Rittel.
As far as Rittel knows, it’s the first course of its type in Utah. He said it’s a common class in the state of Washington, but is something that hasn’t existed locally.
“We are very optimistic this is an investment worth making and that the students will benefit,” he said.
Careers in Education I will introduce students to both teaching and administrative work.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anM (PDH)

 

West Valley City charter school for teen moms will replace administrators in bid to fight forced closure
Kairos Academy » Petition drive, administrative shake-up result in hearing on decision to close school for pregnant teens and young mothers.

At age 20, Esmeralda Huerta is four academic credits away from earning her high school diploma.
After dropping out of Hillcrest High School and being homeless for roughly a year, the Midvale resident enrolled at Kairos Academy and is working toward a career in nursing.
“I’m definitely going to college,” Huerta said. “I’ve never seen my grades be as good as they are now.”
But now Huerta’s future at Kairos Academy is unclear, as students, parents and school community members push back against the school’s recent forced closure, circulating an online petition that says it has started an appeal. On Tuesday, the petition had accumulated more than 1,800 signatures.
The Utah State Charter School Board last month voted to shut down Kairos, a West Valley City charter school for girls that focuses on pregnant teens and young mothers.
Huerta said she was unaware Kairos Academy had been on probation since 2015, and that she “fell into a depression” when she learned of Kairos’ pending closure. “I’m so close to graduating,” Huerte remembers thinking. “Please don’t do this to me.”
The school has announced it will undergo a leadership transition in an effort to address criticisms. Kevin Fenstermacher, chairman of Kairos’ governing board, said he will not seek another term as chair and that the school’s principal will be replaced by an interim director.
An additional three seats will also be added to Kairos’ four-member governing board, Fenstermacher said, with an eye toward candidates from academic backgrounds.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anR (SLT)

 

An app for that: Valley middle-schoolers build own apps at USU camp

Earlier this week in a computer lab at Utah State University, middle-schooler McKell Balls set out to create a smartphone app.
But Balls, who likes to play games like Minecraft and Lego Marvel Super Heroes, wants to use computer programming to design games when she grows up.
“Probably not a lot of kids think about that, because a lot of people just play video games,” she said. “I think it’s fun.”
Balls is participating in Utah State University’s App Camp, a weeklong opportunity for middle-schoolers to learn how to build their own smartphone applications with the help of high school mentors and a program called App Inventor.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ao8 (LHJ)

 

STEM Mentor Exchange Mobile App Is Live, Time To Connect Teachers With Industry Mentors
Help out Utah’s children and volunteer today.

With STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) jobs opening at unprecedented rates, a popular rallying cry has overtaken Utah: kids need more access to STEM opportunities. Here at Silicon Slopes, we couldn’t agree more and thankfully, we’re not alone.
The STEM Partners Foundation is a charitable organization that believes strongly in strengthening STEM education, having paired with a long list of companies (Adobe, EnergySolutions, IM Flash, Dell EMC, and more) to push this vision. As part of this STEM-based mindset, the STEM Partners Foundation began work one year ago on a mobile app that would connect Utah’s teachers with industry volunteers, an avenue for kids to learn from real-life STEM experts.
That mobile app is now live on Google Play and the App Store — it’s called the STEM Mentor Exchange (STEM MX) and with the help of Utah’s tech community, kids are going to have opportunities like never before.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aov (Silicon Slopes)

 

Logan High principal continues to overcome challenges

If 16-year-old Ken Auld could see who he is now, the principal at Logan High School, he would have never believed it.
“I would have looked at you and said, ‘There’s no way, I’m not smart enough to be a principal, I’m not smart enough to work at a school,’” Auld said. “‘I don’t do good at math, I don’t do good at writing.’”
Auld grew up in Everett, Washington, just north of Seattle.
“I was raised by a single mom, we were poor. I never went to the same school two years in a row, we moved a lot,” he said. “That’s what my mom had to do to take care of us.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/ao7 (LHJ)

 

Friends remember Ogden teacher Cheryl Baker as an ‘artistic, kind, gentle woman’

OGDEN — The thing that’s noteworthy about Cheryl Baker is how she lived and what she did with her life, not how she died.
That’s how former colleague Michelle Tanner summed up the reactions of those close to the retired Ogden teacher, who was identified Friday, June 30, as one of three women discovered shot to death June 19 on a farmhouse property in Canyon County near Caldwell, Idaho.
The other two individuals haven’t yet been identified by official sources, but ranged in age from mid-teens to mid-50s.
The property was purchased by Baker, 56, and her husband, Gerald “Mike” Bullinger, last March. Bullinger, 60, is currently the focus of a nationwide manhunt as a “person of interest” in the case and a felony warrant has been issued for his arrest for failure to report three deaths.
Baker recently retired from teaching art at GreenWood Charter School in Harrisville and moved with her husband, Gerald Michael Bullinger, to the Caldwell residence, the Idaho Statesman reported.
Tanner is a superintendent at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind, where Baker worked for 32 years teaching children with hearing impairments.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anU (OSE)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/ao1 (KSTU)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ao0 (Gephardt Daily)

http://gousoe.uen.org/anX ([Boise] Idaho Statesman)

http://gousoe.uen.org/anW (Idaho Statesman via KSL)

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

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

 

Utah’s Summer Food Program Seeks To Reach Kids Where They Are

The federally funded summer food program aims to get meals to low-income kids when school is not in session. Typically, those meals are provided at school cafeterias, but in Utah it has proved more effective to bring those meals to more vacation-friendly places.
“Think like a kid,” is the the advice from Marti Woolford, nutrition director at Utahns Against Hunger. Woolford says that schools are the last place kids want to go during their summer break. Better locations include community centers, libraries and parks.
“When you go to a summer food site at a park it is a really cool community environment,” Woolford says. “There are a lot of parents there on blankets with their kids.”
Woolford also works with nonprofits like the Utah Food Bank to provide meals when schools can’t. Most schools only provide meals through June and only on weekdays until 1 p.m.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aod (KUER)

 

How to keep kids entertained all summer long

The Granite School District is working to stop summer learning loss and kick boredom to the curb with Brag Badges. Brent Sever, the Chief Executive Officer with the Granite Education Foundation, explained the program on Good Things Utah.
Granite Education Foundation and Granite School District teamed up to offer summer engagement by creating a symbiotic relationship between kids, parents and the local community. This relationship creates an incentive for all to participate as one motivates the other. It all begins with motivation that gets kids playing and active without them even knowing it.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aob (KTVX)

 

For kids, by kids: ARTcetera keeps kids creating all summer long

School may be out, but ARTcetera and Provo City School District students are working to keep kids minds active.
ARTcetera, a nonprofit, student-run gallery in Provo Towne Centre, is hosting weekly Saturday art classes for children to teach them new skills, director James Rees said.
“Most students during the summer sit around and their idea of good summer would be to do nothing, but they say, ‘I feel better when I accomplish something and learn something new.’ Here’s an opportunity for that,” Rees said.
The classes, which run from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday, started in the middle of June and will continue through the end of July and focus on topics ranging from watercolor painting, collaging, nonobjective painting and portrait drawing.
Rees, an art teacher at Provo High School, said the class also gives some of his students a chance to share the things they’ve learned and get some experience in a potential career path.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ao2 (PDH)

 

Program helping Boulders’ kids avoid summer brain drain

A summer school program at the South Franklin Community Center is helping some of Provo’s poorest kids stay strong in school.
“Summer learning loss is real, and it is especially prevalent in low-income families,” said Alyssa Escalante, a program coordinator in Utah Valley University’s School Community University Partnership, or SCUP.
The summer school program is run out of the community center, right next to The Boulders apartment complex in Provo.
The program, which is capped at 50 students and has a waiting list, runs for four days a week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ao3 (PDH)

 

Nebo names district teachers of the year

Nebo School District recently named Vicki Gardner the district’s Teacher of the Year and honored other teachers for their work during the 2016-17 school year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ao5 (Serve Daily)

 

St. George students earn SkillsUSA awards

Six St. George students were awarded at the annual SkillsUSA Championships last month In Louisville, Kentucky.
The national career and technical education showcase, the largest skills competition in the world, featured more than 6,000 students from across the United States. Invited students competed in 100 hands-on occupational and leadership competitions including robotics, automotive technology, drafting, criminal justice, aviation maintenance and public speaking.
The local students all earned Skill Point Certificates:
http://gousoe.uen.org/aou (SGS)

 

Grants awarded for school needs by Nebo Education Foundation

The Nebo Education Foundation awarded grants for a number of worthy school needs in June.
The foundation is composed of 20 volunteer board members who live in cities serviced by Nebo School District. Board members meet each month to review and award grant requests, consider fund-raising avenues and other items that advance the educational opportunities for Nebo School District students. Many of the donations received are for selected projects, yet a substantial amount is available for the greatest need. Greatest-need monies are considered for grants submitted by area schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ao6 (Serve Daily)

 

Nebo PEAK Award winners announced

Nebo School District wants to showcase the Positive Energy and Kind employees and the PEAK Award Customer Service Program. PEAK Awards are nominated by patrons and recognized by the Superintendent Staff and Nebo School Board of Education. The award is administered by the Communications and Community Relations Department.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ao4 (Serve Daily)

 

Getting dirty: USU preschool celebrates International Mud Day

Things got messy on Friday at the USU early care and education center as children celebrated International Mud Day.
Kids dumped buckets of mud on their often-unsuspecting teachers while others stomped on a tarp filled with muddy water or ran through a sprinkler.
Four-year-old Jack Sutherland played with a big bowl of mud, pretending he was scooping ice cream to share with a friend.
“I’m all about kids getting dirty,” Sara Sutherland, his mom, said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ao9 (LHJ)

 

Charter school HQ opens up in old Macy’s building

BOISE – The old Macy’s building at 10th and Idaho Street sat vacant for nearly a decade. Today, it’s the headquarters for a new charter school organization. If you remember what it looked like back then, you may not even recognize it today.
Athlos Academies completely transformed the historic building. They’ve put in a basketball court, blue turf field, and weight room, everything corresponding with what they teach.

10th and Idaho is now home to the Athlos Academies Headquarters. A place to bring in administrators and train them on their unique teaching approach, which emphasizes health and fitness along with other academics, hence the indoor basketball court, indoor turf field, and weight room.
“We felt it was important to reproduce the elements that you’ll find in one of our schools here at our corporate office. Not just for cultural enforcement for our employees and the enjoyment of our employees, but also for the schools that we work with, when they come here and train,” Van Alfen said.
Athlos builds and manages charter schools in Utah, Texas, and Minnesota, but not Idaho, yet.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aop ([Boise, ID] KTVB)

 

Colorado company to test oil shale tech in Utah

A Grand Junction company has leased more than a square mile of land in Utah in which it will test its plans to collect oil and natural gas from rock heated by microwave technology.
Qmast LLC has a three-year exploration and demonstration lease for the site about 50 miles from Grand Junction, Peter Kearl, president and chief science officer, said.
The lease is with Utah’s Schools and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, which deals with lands dedicated at statehood to fund schools and other institutions. It frequently assembles those lands in areas known to contain minerals.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aoq (Grand Junction [CO] Sentinel)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Political fireworks lighting up Utah and the nation
Deseret News commentary by columnists Frank R. Pignanelli and LaVarr Webb

We wish our readers a happy Independence Day holiday. Stay safe. In deference to the dangerously dry conditions, we’ll avoid shooting off real fireworks this year, and instead focus on the political fireworks lighting up Utah and the nation.
It’s possible that at least four significant proposals could be placed on the 2018 election ballot, including measures that would raise taxes for schools, legalize medical marijuana and form a redistricting advisory commission. In addition, it’s possible that Count My Vote could be resurrected, with a proposal to end the fight over SB54 by forever eliminating the caucus/convention nominating system. Why are citizens taking things into their own hands with these proposals instead of lobbying the Legislature to act?
Pignanelli: “Politics is not a profession but a disease.” — Premier Utah campaign manager Dave Hansen
Medical practitioners frequently prescribe invasive procedures to determine problems or diagnose conditions. As most readers can attest, these medicinal procedures are inconvenient and painful, but are beneficial because they promote remedial activities.
Ballot proposal campaigns are the intrusive, but necessary, examinations that protect the health of the “body politic.” Simmering issues abound that are so controversial the Legislature may be reluctant to respond. A worthy initiative/referendum/proposition effort provides a diagnosis of what truly concerns citizens.
Many Utahns tell pollsters they support tax increases for public education. Yet, this emotion is never reflected in election outcomes. The general election results for the Our Schools Now (OSN) proposal to increase income and sales taxes will provide a long-overdue diagnosis of what taxpayers really believe.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aoo

 

Girls Code
They code some really cool stuff, to be precise.
Silicon Slopes commentary by columnist Meg Walter

Last week I sat in on the closing ceremonies of InsideSales’ Girls Code. It’s a coding camp for daughters and grand daughters of InsideSales employees. And I’ve gotta be honest, I wish I was the daughter of one of those employees so I could attend this camp.
The girls of Girls Code learned to build actual applications that work. One attendee told me she built a voice controlled app that sends emojis, an app that I both want and need. Another spoke of a game she created, and still another said she created a digital cello.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aot

 

Everyone should read this book
Deseret News commentary by columnist Lee Benson

SALT LAKE CITY — I recently read a book everyone should read. And no, I didn’t write it.
The book is not brand new. “A Deadly Wandering” was released in 2014 by HarperCollins. But it was new to me, and I can’t remember another time closing a book and swearing off doing something for the rest of my life.
Texting and driving.
The book tells the story of a collision that occurred nearly 11 years ago on a highway in northern Utah that took the lives of two rocket scientists and resulted in the state of Utah enacting the toughest anti-texting law in America.

Terryl Warner, a victim’s advocate for the Cache County Attorney’s Office and a key player in the case, remembers the day well. She addressed the legislators ahead of Shaw.
“I had this great speech planned,” said Warner. “I had some important things I wanted to say. I had three minutes, I’d rehearsed it, and I wanted everyone to hear me. Then I started talking and I looked and nobody was even listening. The legislators were talking to their interns, they were on their phones, no one was paying attention.”
And then Shaw stood up.
“That woman, she talked about those two men who died,” he said, motioning toward Warner. “I killed those men.”
When Shaw said that, Warner remembered, “You could have heard a pin drop.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/anS

 

Time to rethink priorities
Price Sun-Advocate letter from Barbara Ann Piccolo

At first, I was going to curse the different entities that were responsible for actions regarding Bookmobile and Senior Friday lunches, but I love this city and each of you. I know that’s not how it is done in Price City. To fight each other would cause animosity and would not accomplish a thing.
I usually do not have to make a stand because our citizens are put on the front of most decisions for the betterment of majority. I personally feel the decision to close such a wonderful avenue as the Bookmobile was not well thought through. Our surrounding cities rely on the Bookmobile for their only source of reading materials. Many do not have the Internet, local libraries, nor are the schools available in the summer. More people rely on this service than you can possibly fathom. Is our children’s reading not important? As a mother I am taking a stand on what I believe to be right in my heart. Are we going to get rid of our Senior Friday lunches too?
http://gousoe.uen.org/aor

 

Disturbed by change in Pledge of Allegiance
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Richard Jensen

At the fireworks display at USU on the 3rd they had first graders put on a show which was very nice except for one part, they used the first graders to push a changed version of the pledge of allegiance that destroys the meaning of it and pushes us toward a loss of our freedom. They changed the part that says, “and to the republic” to “and to the government” and also changed the end part that says “with liberty and justice for all” to “with freedom and fairness for all.” These are important terms that if changed and then taught to our children will further lead us into a mindset that accepts more loss of freedom … gradually setting us up for a takeover such as you see in other parts of the world where freedom is lost. (Not to mention the confusion of multiple forms of the pledge taught in different places.)
I am saddened … even disgusted that they would use first graders to push a political agenda at a festival celebrating our freedom and the birth of our nation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aoa

 

Fidget spinners
Deseret News letter from Ethan Shaw

My name is Ethan Shaw, and I am 13 years old. It is my one goal by writing this to save fidget spinners. Over the past few months fidget spinners have had a spike in demand. Kids all around America are spinning them everywhere they go — in class, at home, and I have even spun mine when I have attended a boring school board meeting, etc.
Lately, though, people — teachers, parents, etc. — have thought of fidget spinners as loud and annoying distractions. Fidget spinners have been banned in schools, with a no-nonsense “if we see a fidget spinner it’s gone” kind of system. They say it is for the best, but is it? Fidget spinners are meant to help kids with ADHD or help kids relax and concentrate. Probably only 1 percent of kids have them for those reasons and other have them for fun … or so we think. I always use my fidget spinner for “fun,” but it actually helps me concentrate and relax. Adults might think they’re loud and annoying and people don’t need them, but adults don’t know everything. Fidget spinners aren’t as bad as you think!
http://gousoe.uen.org/anT

 

The Supreme Court’s modest decision on a controversial church-state question
Washington Post editorial

DEPENDING ON whom you ask, the Supreme Court last week blew a hole in the wall between church and state — or issued a modest decision that calls for little more than reasonableness when the government interacts with religious groups. Who’s right depends on what the court does from here and whether the justices can adopt principles that allow for some curbs on public money flowing into religious activities.
The court considered the case of the Trinity Lutheran Church Child Learning Center, a Missouri preschool that was denied state funds to upgrade its playground surface, replacing coarse pea gravel with recycled tire rubber. Though Trinity Lutheran was near the top of the list of potential nonprofit grant recipients, a provision in the Missouri Constitution appeared to bar public grant money from going to religious institutions.
Affirming that “denying a generally available benefit solely on account of religious identity imposes a penalty on the free exercise of religion,” the court repudiated the state’s grant distribution policy. It “puts Trinity Lutheran to a choice: It may participate in an otherwise available benefit program or remain a religious institution,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. Concurring, Justice Stephen G. Breyer compared the state’s decision to cutting off churches from basic public safety services such as police and fire protection.
The question, then, is whether the court has signaled that a wide variety of public funding programs, including school vouchers, are constitutionally required to include religious institutions. Its broad language condemning the withholding of generally available funds to church organs such as Trinity Lutheran suggests a wide new legal avenue has opened for religious groups to demand a share of taxpayer money.
In fact, the court sent no such clear signal. Though the justices have ruled that, in this case, public money must flow directly to a church, the threat to the separation of church and state will remain relatively contained so long as the justices live up to some limits embedded in their reasoning.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anN

 

Trump Ed. Dept. Gives ESSA Feedback to Five More States
Education Week analysis by columnist Alyson Klein

Connecticut, Louisiana, New Jersey, Oregon, and Tennessee got preliminary feedback Friday from the U.S. Department of Education on their plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act, which must be approved by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
The department’s initial ESSA feedback letters—to Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico—sparked wonky outrage, including from state advocates who felt the department had overstepped its bounds. Some of the department’s comments to Delaware—especially on academic goals and measuring college and career readiness—seemed like a sharp departure from DeVos’ rhetoric, which put a big emphasis on local control and rolling back the federal footprint on K-12.
So will this round of feedback give fans of local control another case of heartburn? From our quick review, that seems less likely. (But we’ve reached out to some state advocates for their take.) Noteably, though, the department isn’t questioning whether any state has set “ambitious” goals, as it did with Delaware’s plan. And it doesn’t seem to have a problem with the way Louisiana and Tennessee have relied on Advanced Placement and dual enrollment to determine school ratings, even though that too, was an issue for Delaware. Scroll down for more detail.
The biggest things to watch: It looks like Tennesee is being discouraged from using so-called “super sub-groups” which combine different groups of kids—such as Hispanics, students in special education, and English-language learners—for accountability purposes. More background below. Also, check out New Jersey and test participation.
We read the feedback letters so you don’t have to. Here’s your rundown:
http://gousoe.uen.org/anH

 

Stop the School Staffing Surge
Too much public school money has been spent on hiring non-teaching staff.
U.S. News & World Report commentary by Benjamin Scafidi, professor at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University

KENNESAW, Georgia – You’d be hard-pressed to find people who don’t believe the best investment in education has always been in our teachers – find great ones and pay them well. They are on the front lines, trusted to help our children unlock their true potential in the classroom and beyond.
Yet, for decades, we have consistently failed to spend public school money in a way that rewards teachers and benefits students. In studying publicly available data on school staffing levels from 1950 to 2015, I found that American public schools have added personnel at a rate almost four times that of student enrollment growth.
On the surface, that staffing surge might sound good, but in reality, these additional hires were disproportionately non-teachers. While the number of teachers increased almost two and a half times as fast as the increase in students – resulting in significantly smaller class sizes – the number of non-teachers or “all other staff” increased more than seven times the increase in students.
From the 1950s until 1992, the staffing surge was much larger than in later years. Over those earlier decades, public schools saw racial integration and more developed special education programs. While the pre-1992 staffing surge was extremely large, perhaps it was necessary.
But the modern staffing surge that began in 1992 has been expensive for taxpayers and has posed a tremendous opportunity cost on teachers and parents. Between 1992 and 2014, when inflation-adjusted per-student spending increased by 27 percent, inflation-adjusted average salaries for public school teachers actually fell by 2 percent. In other words, taxpayers allocated more money to public school students, but teachers effectively saw money taken out of their pockets.
Instead of increasing teacher salaries over and above the cost of living, the American public education system dramatically expanded the number of non-teachers it hired – a 45 percent increase in the post-1992 period, or more than double the increase in student population. Had the increase in non-teacher staff simply matched the 19 percent increase in student enrollment since 1992, American public schools could have saved at least $35 billion per year, or $805 billion between 1992 and 2014.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anP

 

In the knowledge economy, we need a Netflix of education
Tech Crunch commentary by Karl Mehta, founder and chief executive of EdCast, Inc. and the founder of Code For India, and Rob Harles, managing director at Accenture Interactive

In a knowledge economy corporate learning is necessary to survive
With 4.6 billion pieces of content produced daily, it might seem that our hunger for knowledge should be satisfied — but information production and distribution is not the same as consumption and it’s not as simple as just putting information out there.
The problem is that we are drowning in content — but are starving for knowledge and insights that can help us truly be more productive, collaborative and innovative.
When we want to acquire useful knowledge, we have to search the web broadly, find experts by word-of-mouth and troll through various poorly designed internal document sharing systems. This method is inefficient.
There should be a better solution that helps users find what they need. Such a solution would adapt to the user’s needs and learn how to make ongoing customized recommendations and suggestions through a truly interactive and impactful learning experience.
Before Netflix, Spotify, Reddit and similar curated content apps, you had to go to numerous sources to find the shows, music, news and other media you wished to view. Now, the entertainment and media you actually want to consume is easily discoverable and personalized to your interests.
In many ways the entertainment model is a good framework for knowledge management and learning development applications.
The solution for the learning and development industry would be a platform that can make education more accessible and relevant — something that allows us to absorb and spread knowledge seamlessly. Just as Netflix delivers entertainment we want at our fingertips, the knowledge and learning we need should be delivered where and when we need it.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aom

 

Should you sign a club contract to only play one sport?
USA Today commentary by Kyle Winters, Recruiting Coordinator Next College Student Athlete

Ingrid Rockovich remembers signing a contract with her club volleyball team stating she would not play any other sport. No basketball, no soccer, just volleyball. She was in high school at the time.
These types of contracts have become commonplace for travel and club teams. Coaches explain that, at the upper level of competition, players need to commit to their team and be accountable to their teammates. And that really doesn’t sound so bad, especially if this commitment leads to a college scholarship.
In fact, Rockovich, a former D1 volleyball player who now provides volleyball recruiting education at NCSA, explains that on her club team, everyone but one girl went on to play D1 volleyball. And for top conferences like the Big Ten, Pac-12 and more.
“It was kind of like a D1 volleyball factory,” she laughs, “training athletes and sending them off to top schools.”
For every athlete who benefits from this type of contract, however, there is another athlete who can actually be harmed by it. So, how do you know if signing an exclusivity contract is best for your athlete, and what options are out there?
http://gousoe.uen.org/aos

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Red-state school leaders vent frustrations with GOP health bill
They say Medicaid funding cuts would hamper their ability to serve low-income and special education students.
Politico

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s health care bill is getting failing grades from red-state school leaders — even in his home state of Kentucky.
Fleming County Schools Superintendent Brian Creasman was taken aback when he discovered the bill would make cuts that could devastate his ability to provide health services to needy and disabled kids.
Here in rural Kentucky, the heart of Trump country where three out of four voters cast ballots for Donald Trump and many regard McConnell as their political protector, Creasman initially thought the bill’s potential cuts to school districts must be a misunderstanding.
Only they weren’t.
About $4 billion in annual Medicaid spending goes to U.S. schools to pay for school nurses, physical, occupational and speech therapists, and school-based screenings and treatment for children from low-income families, as well as wheelchairs and even buses to transport kids with special needs.
The funds make up just 1 percent of Medicaid reimbursements, but school leaders in economically depressed parts of Appalachia, the Rust Belt and elsewhere say they are critical to providing services they are required to provide to special education students. Creasman said he’s seen firsthand how mental health services funded by Medicaid have connected families to help at a time when his state is struggling with an opioid addiction crisis.
“I wonder what the senators think is going to happen?” Creasman said. “Do they think everything is just going to go away? It doesn’t. … What happens is we either have to cut something or increase taxes.”
Creasman is joining scores of other school superintendents — many, like him, from red states critical to Trump’s presidential victory — in writing letters and making calls.
The school leaders have become an unexpected and forceful voice opposing the deep Medicaid cuts in the Senate’s health care bill. AASA, The School Superintendents Association, is organizing what it estimates could be thousands of letters and emails to senators.
And there are signs they may be getting traction with Republican lawmakers who have been on the fence.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anO

 

US schools rethink meal-debt policies that humiliate kids
Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. — Teaching assistant Kelvin Holt watched as a preschool student fell to the back of a cafeteria line during breakfast in Killeen, Texas, as if trying to hide.
“The cash register woman says to this 4-year-old girl, verbatim, ’You have no money,’” said Holt, describing the incident last year. A milk carton was taken away, and the girl’s food was dumped in the trash. “She did not protest, other than to walk away in tears.”
Holt has joined a chorus of outrage against lunchroom practices that can humiliate children as public school districts across the United States rethink how they cope with unpaid student lunch debts.
The U.S. Agriculture Department is requiring districts to adopt policies this month for addressing meal debts and to inform parents at the start of the academic year.
The agency is not specifically barring most of the embarrassing tactics, such as serving cheap sandwiches in place of hot meals or sending students home with conspicuous debt reminders, such as hand stamps. But it is encouraging schools to work more closely with parents to address delinquent accounts and ensure children don’t go hungry.
“Rather than a hand stamp on a kid to say, ‘I need lunch money,’ send an email or a text message to the parent,” said Tina Namian, who oversees the federal agency’s school meals policy branch.
Meanwhile, some states are taking matters into their own hands, with New Mexico this year becoming the first to outlaw school meal shaming and several others weighing similar laws.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anQ

NEA President: There Will Be No Photo Ops With DeVos
Education Week

Boston — NEA President LIly Eskelsen García drew an apparent line in the sand with the Trump administration and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, saying she would not try to bridge the yawning policy and political gap between them.
“I will not allow the National Education Association to be used by Donald Trump or by Betsy DeVos,” she said in a fiery keynote before thousands of delegates. “I do not trust their motives. I do not believe in ‘alternative facts.’ … There will be no photo op.”
“We will find common ground with many Republicans and many Democrats on many issues, [but] we will not find common ground with an administration that is cruel and callous to our children, to their families,” she continued.
That’s despite the urging of family and colleagues who have encouraged Eskelsen García to seek ways to cooperate with the administration.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aoe

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

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

 

Teachers Union Adopts New, Anti-Charter School Policy
The policy statement aims to limit charter school growth and increase accountability.
U.S. News & World Report

The 3-million member National Education Association is taking a new tack when it comes to charter schools, adopting a policy statement Tuesday aimed at limiting charter school growth and increasing accountability on the sector.
NEA officials hailed the decision as a “fundamental shift” in the union’s stance on charter schools.
“Charter schools were started by educators who dreamed of schools in which they would be free to innovate, unfettered by bureaucratic obstacles,” NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said Tuesday in a statement.
“Handing over students’ education to privately managed, unaccountable charters jeopardizes student success, undermines public education and harms communities,” she said. “This policy draws a clear line between charters that serve to improve public education and those that do not.”
More than 7,000 NEA delegates convened in Boston for the union’s annual meeting over the last week, where leaders and delegates voted on and outlined strategies concerning various education policies.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aoh

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

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

 

Science teachers: DeVos’s Education Department is misinterpreting federal law
Washington Post

Science educators aren’t exactly thrilled with the Education Department under Betsy DeVos.
They weren’t fans when President Trump recently pulled the United States out of the landmark Paris climate agreement (which all countries had signed except Syria and Nicaragua) — and DeVos issued a statement in support. And many educators were concerned when the Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that strongly backs DeVos and does not believe in human-induced climate change, sent to thousands of K-12 and college science teachers materials that reject basic principles on which nearly all climate scientists agree. A group of Democratic senators asked the Education Department whether DeVos or her staff had anything to do with this Heartland project.
Now, the National Science Teachers Association and the STEM Education Coalition have sent a letter to the Education Department saying it is misinterpreting the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the federal K-12 education law that replaced No Child Left Behind, in regard to science and school accountability plans.
The Education Department did not respond to a query about this issue.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aoj

 

Chicago won’t allow high school students to graduate without a plan for the future
Washington Post

CHICAGO — To graduate from a public high school in Chicago, students will soon have to meet a new and unusual requirement: They must show that they’ve secured a job or received a letter of acceptance to college, a trade apprenticeship, a gap year program or the military.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said he wants to make clear that the nation’s third-largest school system is not just responsible for shepherding teenagers to the end of their senior year, but also for setting them on a path to a productive future.
“We are going to help kids have a plan, because they’re going to need it to succeed,” he said. “You cannot have kids think that 12th grade is done.”
Few would dispute that kids often need more than a high school diploma to thrive in today’s economy, but there is a simmering debate about the extent to which schools should be — and realistically can be — expected to ensure their graduates receive further training.
Emanuel’s plan, approved by the Board of Education in late May, has planted Chicago at the center of that debate.
Experts say Chicago Public Schools is the first big-city system to make post-graduation plans a graduation requirement. But the question is whether the cash-strapped district can provide enough mentoring and counseling to help its neediest students succeed when the rule takes effect in 2020.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anK

 

Pre-test jitters? Here’s how teachers are helping students de-stress
NewsHour

Assessments may change in many ways, but for most students, the stress of having to prove what they know and can do doesn’t go away.
That’s why an increasing number of districts nationwide are looking for ways to help change not so much the tests but the way students respond to them, and to do so in a way that helps improve students’ achievement and well-being.
“People who are anxious in general often get test anxiety, yes, but a lot of people who are not particularly anxious can still develop stress around tests in different subjects” like mathematics, said Mark Greenberg, the chairman of prevention research at Pennsylvania State University and a developer of the Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies, or PATHS, curriculum, a social and emotional development and anti-anxiety program for elementary students.
What’s actually going on when a student stresses out over a test? While it’s a common occurrence, researchers are starting to get new perspective on exactly how fear interferes with performance.
http://gousoe.uen.org/anL

 

The Diminishing Role of Art in Children’s Lives
Kids have fewer opportunities to do art in school and at home—and that could have long-term consequences.
The Atlantic

“Ik ben ik”—I am me—was the classroom theme when my son started preschool in the Netherlands two years ago. He painted a portrait of himself, with exaggerated teeth only on the bottom row and three strands of wiry hair on his head (“hair is hard,” he later told me). He went on to depict his home life: our canal-side house more wavy than erect; his father and I standing beside a cat we do not own; and his baby sister next to him while his other sister—his nemesis at the time—was completely absent. It was the first real glimpse we had into his experiences and sense of self, and it was both insightful and entertaining.
My house is covered in the artwork of my three children. My middle child’s self-portrait, for example, is framed and featured in our living room, with her bold red hair painted in broad stripes and a third eye she claims is magic; my son’s bedroom wall displays his sketching of a giraffe. What my kids cannot express in written language they delight in sharing through their scribbles.
As much evidence will support, drawing has significant developmental benefits for young children. It gives them space to represent what they think—territory within which they can exaggerate what is important to them or express ideas they are not yet able to verbalize. Through art, children are able to describe and reveal their notions about themselves, the world, and their place in it.
The role of drawing in enhancing childhood development has been acknowledged since art education first became a part of public-school curricula in the Commonwealth states in 1870. A wealth of research has shown a strong link between the scribbles of preschoolers and their early stages of written language and reading. Drawing also helps prepare children for success in other subject areas, including explaining and communicating mathematical reasoning, which assists in their comprehension and communication of math concepts, according to an analysis by the California State University, Chico, professors Susan Steffani and Paula M. Selvester.
More generally, extensive evidence suggests that exposure to art in school has long-term academic and social benefits for kids, especially those who are economically disadvantaged. A 2012 study by the United States’ National Endowment for the Arts, for example, found that low-income eighth-graders who had lots of exposure to the arts were more likely than their peers with less exposure to earn higher grades and attend college.
But according to new research conducted in the Netherlands by the Dutch school inspectorate, the amount of time children spend drawing by hand both in and out of school has been reduced over the last 20 years; the study also found that their artwork has declined significantly in quality and complexity since a similar study was conducted two decades ago.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aol

 

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CALENDAR
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UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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

Native American Legislative Liaison Committee meeting
10 a.m., 707 N Main Street, Brigham City
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=SPENAL

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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