Education News Roundup: July 11, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Demolition begins on the old Granite High School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aq6 (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aqb (KTVX)

12 Ogden schools will offer free lunch to all students next year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqa (KTVX)

Stateline looks at new state laws on the use of sunscreen at schools, including those in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqr (Stateline via USA Today)

AP looks at school BYOD (that’s “bring your own [technology] devices) policies.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqh (AP)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Despite alumni efforts to preserve its buildings, demolition begins on historic Granite High School
Granite High > Alumni lose battle to preserve the 110-year-old school, but some still hopeful as a plan for the north side of campus is undecided.

12 Ogden schools to provide free meals to all students
Free meals to begin the Fall 2017 school year

Why more states are getting serious about sunscreen

Our Schools Now holding public meeting at Hillcrest Elementary

School Board approves 2018 budget

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Every student in Utah should have the means to attain their educational goals

Why model autism programs are rare in public schools

My Son Is In Special Education And I Want Him To Be Challenged

Five Myths About Transgender Students Educators Need to Unlearn
Mixed messages about LGBT students permeate school culture

NATION

Many schools now urge kids to bring their own screens

Expert: More money, properly spent, helps students

Personalized Learning: Modest Gains, Big Challenges, RAND Study Finds

How Can Schools Make a Firebreak for Teacher Burnout?

Free-range lunch period? Schools’ open-campus policies vary

Reading, Writing And Fracking? What The Oil Industry Teaches Oklahoma Students

7 ways parents can get their kids excited about writing

Pearson cashes in $1 billion of its Penguin Random House stake

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are backing a controversial education program in East Africa

Saudi Arabia to introduce physical education for schoolgirls

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Despite alumni efforts to preserve its buildings, demolition begins on historic Granite High School
Granite High > Alumni lose battle to preserve the 110-year-old school, but some still hopeful as a plan for the north side of campus is undecided.

Granite High School, which has been a Salt Lake Valley landmark since 1907, will be gone by the end of August – and construction will begin before then on 76 single-family homes that will take the place of what was once the school’s baseball diamond.
Historic memorabilia were removed prior to the start of the $2.5 million demolition project at the end of June, said Ben Horsley, a spokesman for Granite School District. Contractors have already demolished the school’s south buildings and will now work to tear down the east auditorium and cafeteria over the next two weeks. The main, oldest portion of the campus will be removed in late August.
Members of the Granite High Alumni Association had fought for more than just preservation of artifacts, but their efforts to preserve some or all of the buildings were unsuccessful.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aq6 (SLT)

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

 

12 Ogden schools to provide free meals to all students
Free meals to begin the Fall 2017 school year

OGDEN, Utah – Paying for school lunches will no longer be a concern for many Ogden families.
Beginning this fall, some Ogden School District schools will be providing free lunch to all students.
“With this new program, using federal dollars, we’ve identified 12 schools that meet a certain threshold, that, there is no paperwork involved. Automatically, the schools qualified, everybody who goes to that school is qualified. If you go to the school, your child gets free lunches,” said Jer Bates, Ogden School District spokesperson.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqa (KTVX)

 

Why more states are getting serious about sunscreen

State Rep. Craig Hall of Utah has four redheaded school-age children, lives in the state with the highest rate of melanoma in the country, and buys sunscreen “in the Costco size.” He is an unabashed proponent of sun protection.
But when Hall, a Republican, introduced legislation this year to allow kids to bring sunscreen to school – which starts Aug. 21 in his district – he said his fellow state lawmakers were a little less enthusiastic. “My colleagues’ first reaction to this bill was mostly, ‘Seriously? We need a bill for this?’ ”
Like ibuprofen or hay fever medication, sunscreen is considered an over-the-counter drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and therefore by almost all schools. That means kids can’t bring it to school without a doctor’s note, and even then must see the school nurse in order to use it.
The result: Teachers leading a sunny field trip are free to cover themselves in a thick protective layer of sunscreen. But in most states, children can’t follow suit. In Indianapolis, for instance, kids go back to school July 31 – the height of summer – but they must have a doctor’s note to bring sunscreen to school, and visit the school nurse to put it on.
That is beginning to change. In the past four months, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Utah and Washington have enacted laws declaring students may use sunscreen in school and at after-school activities, no doctor’s note required. Those states join California, New York, Oregon and Texas, which already have lifted the ban on sunscreen in school. The laws in Arizona, New York and Washington also stipulate that kids may bring and use sunscreen at summer camps.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqr (Stateline via USA Today)

 

Our Schools Now holding public meeting at Hillcrest Elementary

Our Schools Now will host a public meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hillcrest Elementary to discuss a proposed 2018 ballot initiative that would raise taxes to fund schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aq8 (LHJ)

 

School Board approves 2018 budget

In the June school board meeting, Jared Black the business administrator presented the 2018 district budget. He said the assessed valuation in Emery County is 1.9 billion. It was over $2 billion but has now gone down.
Projected enrollment for the district this fall is 2,155 students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqt (Emery County Progress)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Every student in Utah should have the means to attain their educational goals
Deseret News op-ed by Boyd Matheson, president of Sutherland Institute

The future of education in Utah begins today. Unfortunately it isn’t starting in local communities or even in the Utah Legislature but in the form of a ballot initiative. Such initiatives are typically expensive, media-driven, take-it-or-leave-it propositions, with no real opportunity for dialogue, debate or compromise. Advocates for the increase, which includes hikes on both sales tax and personal income tax, say the end justifies the means – as the result will add needed funds to education. We would be wise to follow the axiom of Irish author Joseph O’Connor who said, “It is not a matter of ends justifying means, but of the creation of new means and new ends.”
We need to stop for a moment and determine where we are and where we are trying to go with the means and ultimate ends of education in Utah. Before a critical debate in the U.S. Congress, Daniel Webster said: “Mr. President, when the mariner has been tossed about for many days in thick weather on an unknown sea, he naturally avails himself of the first pause in the storm, the earliest glance of the sun to take his latitude and ascertain where he is in relation to his desired course. Let us imitate this prudence and before we float on the waves of this debate refer to the point from which we departed, that we may at least be able to conjecture where we now are.” Discussions about education means and ends often create a stormy sea of opinion and waves of politically divisive rhetoric.
So where are we? I haven’t spoken to a single Utahn who doesn’t agree that our school systems must be better and do more for students, parents and teachers. I don’t have any doubt that the promoters of the tax hike ballot initiative are committed to improving Utah schools. However, without real innovation the initiative is both bad process and bad policy. Citizens are being asked to vote for a 10 percent rate increase in the amount of both the sales and income tax they pay in order to fund the possibility of incremental improvement to an education system that is completely inadequate to meet the needs of 21st-century students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aq7

http://gousoe.uen.org/aq9 (Sutherland)

 

Why model autism programs are rare in public schools
Spectrum commentary by John McLaughlin, Director of research and analytics, ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy, and Education

There’s no single way to teach children with autism. Regardless of which method a school adopts, though, it’s no mystery what helps them to thrive: calm, not chaos, in the classroom; one-on-one attention from teachers, aides and therapists; lessons tailored to the individual child’s needs, whether that means learning not to bite or how to make eye contact while shaking hands; and the opportunity to regroup through soothing activities such as swinging, rolling on mats or listening to music.
Most importantly, nearly all of these students need to work on language development, in whatever form is appropriate – writing, speech, sign language or pointing to images. For example, a child can signal that she wants to go to the bathroom by speaking, using American Sign Language (thumb between middle and index finger and twisting the wrist twice) or pointing at a picture of a toilet in the Picture Exchange Communication System.
As an administrator, professor and researcher in the field of special education for the past 40 years, I am continually struck by the rarity of programs for children with autism that include all of these elements.
U.S. federal law requires that public schools educate all children, regardless of their intellectual or physical capabilities. But the law doesn’t spell out what schools must provide, which has made it possible for less ambitious school districts to provide little more than de minimis opportunities for children with developmental delays or behavioral issues.
As a result, our nation is failing the vast majority of the half million school-age children with autism. We fail these children by not identifying them and treating them early – a key tenet of the federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The law requires that we identify preschool children with disabilities and provide the behavioral and physical therapy they need to be ready for school. But this part of the law is spottily implemented at best.
We need to give all students the best therapies available in a school setting, putting in the necessary, albeit considerable, funds to do so. The investment will pay dividends later. Research shows that if we give the best available special education to children with severe disabilities, those children are more likely to grow up to be productive, independent and able to contribute to society as tax-paying citizens.
While researching two books on special education, I learned that a number of public school districts – especially those in Massachusetts, Utah, New Jersey and California – have developed stellar programs for children with autism. But these model programs make up a tiny minority of special education programs and do not seem to be sparking many imitators. Exceptional programs for students with autism and other disabilities often operate in obscurity.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqs

 

My Son Is In Special Education And I Want Him To Be Challenged
NPR commentary by MARGARET GILMOUR

By the time my younger son is midway through third grade, I realize that his academic progress has stalled. He’s stuck somewhere between kindergarten and first grade.
School is a struggle for him. He has a language-based learning disability, which affects how long it takes for him to process new information before he can respond.
We have safeguards – classroom accommodations and an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, a document required by law for students who receive special education – to keep him on track.
Except, that he isn’t.
Desperate to wake him, we begin working through stacks of math and reading materials I amass at home, ones that I found researching teaching approaches designed specifically for kids with language-processing issues.
I see his potential. With little distraction, we move forward, mastering concepts at our own pace.
But at school, his progress remains at a standstill.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqc

 

Five Myths About Transgender Students Educators Need to Unlearn
Mixed messages about LGBT students permeate school culture
Education Week op-ed by Laura Erickson-Schroth, co-author, with Laura A. Jacobs, of the recently published ‘You’re in the Wrong Bathroom!’ and 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions About Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming People

Transgender and gender-nonconforming youths have become the focus of conversations across the country. Despite the media attention, most schools have no formal rules around gender inclusion and do not address gender identity in curricula. Because of this, many K-12 educators have difficulty knowing how to begin talking with students about gender identity.
According to a 2016 report by the international organization Human Rights Watch, eight states have laws at the state and local levels that prohibit or limit teachers from discussing LGBT issues in public schools. In other states, parents or administrators who fear repercussions from the community may informally pressure teachers to avoid talking about LGBT issues, and some educators are themselves uncomfortable with the topic. Educators who are able to discuss gender may rely on myths or outdated information to make decisions about their approach.
Such complications arise because teachers and school administrators receive broader mixed messages about how to handle gender-related issues in schools. In 2016, the Obama administration issued guidance requiring schools to allow transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities. However, when President Donald Trump took office, he quickly reversed the guidelines. LGBT advocates pinned their hopes on the potential U.S. Supreme Court case of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender boy from Virginia who last year sued his district’s school board over his right to use the boys’ bathroom. But in March, the case was sent back to the lower courts after the court declined to hear it.
These political fights have occurred in the context of overwhelming evidence that LGBT youths are victimized every day in America’s schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqn

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Many schools now urge kids to bring their own screens
Associated Press

Got your own laptop or tablet? Bring it to class, many schools now say.
Policies known as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) initially raised eyebrows among parents and teachers, who feared they would open the door to addictive video games and social media in class. But many of those skeptics are being won over, saying BYOD expands educational opportunities, saves money and reduces technical headaches.
“Initially, some parents and teachers were afraid the kids would be playing Mario Kart and other games in school. But we had a lot of meetings with parents before adopting the program, and that was very important. We really took the time to address community concerns early on,” says Mike Cicchetti, coordinator for learning technologies in the Volusia County School District in Central Florida. The district was an early adopter, starting its BYOD program in 2011.
“We started by trying it in a few schools in the district. And it was so popular that we now have it in every single school. It really opened up the world to teachers and students, allowing them to move away from worksheets and give them more interactive options,” Cicchetti said.
He said computer access can teach “global citizenship.”
“We tell families that they bought these devices for their children, but that it’s important to teach them that there’s much more value to what’s in their hands than YouTube and games. And they see their parents and grandparents using these technologies to read and communicate,” he explained.
Districts that embrace BYOD policies usually put strict limits on what kids are permitted to do with their devices in school. And not all devices are welcome.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqh

 

Expert: More money, properly spent, helps students
(Santa Fe) New Mexican

Increased funding can improve public education if spent effectively, a professor of public policy and economics testified Monday in a trial to determine whether New Mexico is spending enough money on students.
Student outcomes have improved in cities and states where courts have forced more investment in public education, said Jesse Rothstein of the University of California at Berkeley.
Rothstein testified in a case brought on behalf of a group of students, parents and school districts by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The lawsuit claims the state, through its per-pupil funding formula for public schools, is not providing enough money for students to get an adequate education as required by the New Mexico Constitution.
The lawsuit, if successful, could serve as a watershed case for how public education is funded in New Mexico. It is a non-jury trial; 1st District Judge Sarah Singleton will decide the case.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqi

 

Personalized Learning: Modest Gains, Big Challenges, RAND Study Finds
Education Week

There’s new evidence to suggest that customizing instruction for every student can generate modest gains in math and reading scores, according to a report released today by the RAND Corp.
Despite the promising signs, though, the researchers behind the most comprehensive ongoing study to date of personalized learning describe their latest findings as a “cautionary tale” about a trend whose popularity-and backing from philanthropists, venture capitalists, and the ed-tech industry-far outpaces its evidence base.
“It’s important to set expectations,” John F. Pane, a senior scientist and the distinguished chair in education innovation at RAND, said in an interview. “This may not work everywhere, and it requires careful thought about the context that enables it to work well.”
Pane is a lead author of “Informing Progress: Insights on Personalized Learning Implementation and Effects,” the third and most recent study in a multi-year RAND analysis being funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aql

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqm (RAND)

 

How Can Schools Make a Firebreak for Teacher Burnout?
Education Week

New teachers can learn a lot from fellow teachers in their first five years on the job: how to settle a rowdy class, how to move a lesson from mildly interesting to riveting, how to spot a struggling student. They also, a new study suggests, learn burnout from their school environment and peers.
“It’s not a question of how hard you work or how professional you are,” said Kenneth Frank, a professor of sociometrics at Michigan State University and co-author of the study published in the journal Teaching and Teacher Education. “If you just don’t fit the demands of the organization, or you are surrounded by other people who are burned out, it’s an additional burden on you, and you are more likely to become burned out.”
Frank and colleagues at Michigan State and the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education tracked teachers in their first four years on the job in 10 districts in Michigan and Indiana. They looked at the stress and burnout levels of the novice teachers’ mentors and close colleagues, surveying how much teachers agreed with statements like “I feel used up at the end of the workday” or “I feel frustrated by my work.” But they also examined broader structural issues in the teachers’ schools, like the concentration of poverty among their students, but also the school’s professional climate, such as whether teachers trusted their colleagues and leaders and whether teachers generally felt their instructional approach fit with others at the school.
The best predictor of whether a young teacher would burn out in his or her first four years on the job was the average stress and burnout level of teachers in the school. In fact, it was a stronger indicator than the concentration of poverty among the school’s students. While schools that had more low-income students were also more likely to have stressed teachers, it didn’t neccessarily lead to burnout among young teachers if their school climate was strong and healthy.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqo

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqp (Teaching and Teacher Education) $

 

Free-range lunch period? Schools’ open-campus policies vary
Associated Press

Fraught with teen drama and sometimes ruthless cafeteria aides, lunch period has tortured high school students for generations.
Not so for Rachel Kirkpatrick, a 2017 graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School outside Washington, D.C., for whom lunchtime was downright pleasant. On warm days, she and her friends would eat lunch while lolling on a large lawn next to school. On other days, they’d venture into the neighborhood, picking up lunch at, say, Chipotle or the local bagel place.
“For me, it was really great because I don’t like to be cooped up inside,” said Kirkpatrick, who will be a freshman at the University of Maryland this fall. “It gave me a little mental break.”
The 2,600-plus students at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High are beneficiaries of the suburban school’s open campus policy, which essentially means that students have the freedom to leave school grounds without getting a guardian’s permission.
Many high schools around the country give students varying degrees of freedom to come and go. It’s often up to individual schools to decide; Wootten High School, which, like Bethesda-Chevy Chase, is part of Maryland’s Montgomery County School District, is completely closed.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqk

 

Reading, Writing And Fracking? What The Oil Industry Teaches Oklahoma Students
NPR

It’s a Saturday at Choctaw High School, but for hundreds of Oklahoma teachers, there’s a training class in session. Carrie Miller-DeBoer perches atop a stool monitoring a pair of soda bottles linked with a small length of thin plastic tubing created to mimic enhanced oil recovery, while teaching chemistry fundamentals.
“I love it and my students will be so excited,” she says.
DeBoer is among 14,000 teachers in Oklahoma being trained to instruct a K through 12 education curriculum funded by the oil and gas industry. The lesson plans, created by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, have been used in Kansas, and the overall model has been pitched to at least five other states.
The program centers on teaching math and science through oil-centric lessons and labs. That includes things like calculating the mileage of tanker trucks, or the slope of pipelines.
“Half of our budget is restoration, half is education,” says Dara McBee, communications director with the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board.
Since the 1990s, the energy board – funded by oil and gas taxes – has spent $40 million on the education program. But an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and StateImpact Oklahoma, a collaboration of local NPR member stations, reveals there’s a blurry line between industry promotion and education.
Documents show educators had some role in creating the plans, but it’s unclear how the lessons are written and updated each year. The board’s education director does not have a background in education or science.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqd

 

7 ways parents can get their kids excited about writing
Associated Press

Whether you’re writing an email or a novel, it’s vital these days to understand the craft of telling a story and telling it well. For kids, writing well helps not only at school but with many off-the-page skills, from confidence to creative problem solving.
What children may not understand is that writing can also be fun. Educators say there are many things parents can do at home to get kids excited about writing.
Here are seven:
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqj

 

Pearson cashes in $1 billion of its Penguin Random House stake
Reuters

LONDON | Pearson is set to raise $1 billion from the sale of a 22 percent stake in book publisher Penguin Random House to majority owner Bertelsmann, in the British group’s latest bid to rebuild following a string of profit warnings.
Hit by a sharp downturn in its biggest markets, Pearson has sold off some of its best known assets in recent years including the Financial Times and the Economist to enable it to invest in its core business of education.
The 173-year-old group said on Tuesday it would now reduce its stake in the world’s biggest consumer book publisher to 25 percent from 47 percent, enabling it to free up cash to return to shareholders and bolster its balance sheet.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqf

 

Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are backing a controversial education program in East Africa
Business Insider

“Personalized learning” is one of the trendiest educational theories in Silicon Valley right now.
It involves each student learning at his or her own pace, generally through the aid of technology, and it’s beloved by tech billionaires like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg.
But both Gates and Zuckerberg, in addition to other big names in Silicon Valley, also back an education model that is taking the opposite approach: for-profit, standardized schooling for all.
Bridge International Academies, the subject of a recent New York Times Magazine piece, operates in hundreds of schools around Kenya and Uganda, with dozens more of its low-cost schools scattered through Nigeria, India, and most recently Liberia.
Though it operates with the mission of providing high-quality, low-cost education for all, Bridge has drawn criticism from education experts and teachers unions for the model it uses to make good on that mission.
Bridge schools pay local, uncertified teachers a small monthly fee to use digital, pre-written lesson plans that get distributed across the company’s international web of instructors. All students receive the same education at the same time – something personalized learning advocates generally shun as inefficient or, worse, ineffective.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqq

 

Saudi Arabia to introduce physical education for schoolgirls
Reuters

Saudi public schools will begin offering physical education for girls in the coming academic year, the kingdom’s education ministry announced on Tuesday, a long-awaited step toward social reform in the Islamic kingdom.
Physical education for women is controversial in Saudi Arabia, where conservatives consider it immodest, and it is not mandatory. It is not offered in most public schools, although some private schools include it in the curriculum.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aqe

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

 

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

July 13:

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

July 17:

Administrative Rules Review Committee meeting
9 a.m. 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00003112.htm

July 19:

Utah State Charter School Board hearing and meeting
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://utahpubliceducation.org/2017/07/10/state-charter-school-board-hearing-meeting/#.WWPF3YgrLcs

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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