Education News Roundup: July 14, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

State Board of Education discusses the cost of replacing Common Core.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arH (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/as5 (KSL Radio)

Park Valley School asks the State Board to move to a four-day school week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arI (DN)
or more information
http://gousoe.uen.org/as6 (USBE)

Congress does not appear to be overly receptive to the Trump administration’s school choice initiatives.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arT (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/arW (USN&WR)

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., one of the main architects of the Every Student Succeeds Act, does not think at least one Education Department official who has not read the new law very well.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arU (Ed Week)

Marion County, Florida, ends homework for elementary students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arY (Tampa Bay Times)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Hate Common Core? It’ll cost Utah $100 million to replace, school board member warns
Education standards > Starting over on state’s own benchmarks too costly, board member says; Core opponent blasts program, ambiguous policies.

‘Extremely rural’ K-10 school asks board for 4-day week

Property taxes are likely going up in Nebo School District

Box Elder School District property taxes estimated to decrease from 2017 to 2018

Organization promotes initiative to raise education taxes

16 Salt Lake City elementary schools awarded thousands to purchase more fruits and veggies

LDS teachers forming organization to share challenges of faith and professional practice

Friends, coworkers and former students remember murdered teacher
56 year old Cheryl Baker’s body was found last month in Caldwell, Idaho

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Beg to Differ podcast: ‘Collusion collision’

Better Education Starts With Adults
Our treatment of educators and leaders is key to improving early childhood education.

NATION

Prospects Seem Dim for Trump School Choice Initiative This Year

As Trump and DeVos Push for Private School Choice, Opponents Highlight Vouchers’ Racist Past

Ed. Dept. Official Hasn’t Read ESSA Carefully, Sen. Alexander Says

Governors Tell Congress: Early Education Just as Crucial as Health Care, Tax Reform

New website shows how Colorado schools, school districts spend their money

Homework no more for Marion County elementary schools

Perdue defends school lunch ‘freeze’

Black families believe racial inequality growing in U.S. schools

Cell Towers At Schools: Godsend Or God-Awful?

Keith Conners, Psychologist Who Set Standard for Diagnosing A.D.H.D., Dies at 84

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Hate Common Core? It’ll cost Utah $100 million to replace, school board member warns
Education standards > Starting over on state’s own benchmarks too costly, board member says; Core opponent blasts program, ambiguous policies.

Utah opponents of the Common Core State Standards may need to foot a $100 million bill if they’re committed to replacing the controversial education benchmarks, according to state school board member Spencer Stokes.
During a Thursday meeting of the school board’s Standards and Assessment Committee, Stokes said it is simply too expensive for Utah to start from scratch on a new set of grade-level standards for mathematics and English education.
“There’s no way on God’s green Earth that the Legislature is going to give us the money needed to create a true Utah core,” Stokes said. “In my mind, that chapter of this debate has closed because there’s no funding for it.”
Stokes’ explanation met resistance from board colleague Lisa Cummins, a member of the advocacy group Utahns Against Common Core.
She said her constituents don’t believe the debate is over and are not satisfied allowing a “socialist program” to be rendered impenetrable by financial constraints.
“Then they can pay for it,” Stokes responded. “The point is, the Legislature won’t give us the money.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/arH (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/as5 (KSL Radio)

 

‘Extremely rural’ K-10 school asks board for 4-day week

SALT LAKE CITY – Park Valley School, a K-10 school in rural Box Elder County, will ask the full Utah State Board of Education Friday for a waiver of the state’s school attendance rule so it can offer four-day school weeks beginning this fall.
Hallie Kunzler, one of two licensed teachers at the school of 39 students, told the State School Board’s Law and Licensing Committee Thursday that she believes school attendance will increase if the waiver is granted.
“All of our students are on their family ranches and many of them miss a substantial amount of time working on their ranches, whether that’s branding, shearing, moving cows, whatever,” said Kunzler, who teaches grades 6-10.
“We have a couple of students who miss anywhere from 17 to 20 days per trimester, which is only 60 days (long) so they’re missing about a third of their class due to working their family ranch because their families need them.”
State school board rules requires local education authorities to conduct school a minimum of 990 hours a year and 180 days each year. However, board policy also allows schools to apply for waivers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arI (DN)

More information
http://gousoe.uen.org/as6 (USBE)

 

Property taxes are likely going up in Nebo School District

If you live in Nebo School District and your home went up in value last year, your property taxes are likely about to go up as well.
The Nebo School District Board of Education will hold a Truth in Taxation hearing at 6 p.m. Aug. 3 at the district office in Spanish Fork to keep the tax levy for 2017-18 at the current rate. The board will vote on the increase after the hearing.
As property values increase, the amount of money the district receives from property taxes remains the same because the tax rate automatically drops. However, if a board wants to change that rate from what it would be adjusted to, it has to go through the Truth in Taxation process.
The Nebo School District Board of Education voted Wednesday evening to propose to keep the current 0.009298 rate.
That would normally mean residents inside those boundaries wouldn’t see an increase, but property values in the area have increased more than 11 percent in the last year, Tracy Olsen, the district’s business administrator, said at Wednesday’s meeting.
That means the average $228,800 home in Nebo School District will pay an additional $52 in property taxes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arO (PDH)

 

Box Elder School District property taxes estimated to decrease from 2017 to 2018

BRIGHAM CITY – The Box Elder School District didn’t decrease taxes as much as they could have, put taxpayers are still slated to pay less in 2018 than in 2017.
When compared to last year, property taxes levied by the school district will decrease by $21 for homes and $31 for businesses, according data presented to the Board of Education.
This is based on the value of an average home being $185,000 and the average value of a business being $146,000.
This will decrease the total yearly tax from $846 to $825 for residents and $1,215 to $1,184.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arN (OSE)

 

Organization promotes initiative to raise education taxes

Utah County residents gathered at one of seven public hearings held across the state Tuesday to discuss an initiative that could hike taxes and generate $700 million per year for public education.
Community members who attended the hearing hosted by the Our Schools Now initiative at Orem Elementary School voiced everything from support for Utah’s future to concern about pumping money into an “already failing system.”
Our Schools Now is proposing the Teacher and Student Success Act, a law that would increase the state income tax by half a percentage point and the state sales tax by half a percentage point over three years to increase investment in education, according to the initiative’s website.
http://gousoe.uen.org/as4 (BYU Universe)

 

16 Salt Lake City elementary schools awarded thousands to purchase more fruits and veggies

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Several elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District now have money to buy more fruits and veggies for their students.
Over $300,000 was awarded to the schools for the 20017-18 school year as part of the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Grant. 16 school received part of the grant.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arZ (KTVX)

 

LDS teachers forming organization to share challenges of faith and professional practice

A conference for the LDS Educators Association will kick off Saturday, just a day after the professional association plans to form.
The association’s purpose, according to the conference website, is to “challenge educators who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to consider the relationship between their covenants and their professional practice.”
LeGrand “Buddy” Richards, an associate professor of educational leadership and foundations at Brigham Young University in Provo who spearheaded the effort, said the professional association will be formed today and announced at the beginning of the conference Saturday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arP (PDH)

 

Friends, coworkers and former students remember murdered teacher
56 year old Cheryl Baker’s body was found last month in Caldwell, Idaho

HARRISVILLE – Friends, colleagues and former students gathered at GreenWood Charter School Thursday to celebrate the life of murdered teacher Cheryl Baker.
The 56 year old’s body was found June 19th along with the bodies of two other women on property owned by Baker’s husband Gerald Michael Bullinger in Caldwell, Idaho.
Baker’s friends remember her as a dedicated teacher at numerous schools, including the Utah School for the Deaf, Mill Creek Elementary and most recently at GreenWood Charter where she taught art last year.
“She was truly generous. She touched so many people,” GreenWood teacher Henry DeMars told ABC4 Utah News. “She was able to help everybody and anybody that she came in contact with.”
“She was the kindest, most giving person, always smiling,” GreenWood teacher Diana Sciandra said. “But at the same time was our rock, was the woman we knew we could go to to talk about anything.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/arQ (KTVX)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Beg to Differ podcast: ‘Collusion collision’
Utah Policy commentary by columnists Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick

Donald Trump, Jr., son of the President, pulled one of the stupidest moves in the history of American politics when he attempted to collude with the Russian government. We break down the politics surrounding the latest Russia revelations.
Rep. Chris Stewart is our guest this week on the podcast. The Republican says the latest Russia developments are quite troubling, but any talk of impeachment is premature. The congressman also discusses the threat of North Korea and the complexities of dealing with China, plus a cyber threat that not many are talking about.
Our Schools Now is pushing to get on the 2018 ballot with a tax hike to better fund schools, but are they being honest in how they’re presenting their proposition?
http://gousoe.uen.org/as0 (audio)

 

Better Education Starts With Adults
Our treatment of educators and leaders is key to improving early childhood education.
U.S. News & World Report op-ed by Nonie Lesaux, professor of education and society at Harvard Graduate School of Education and is chair of Massachusetts’ Board of Early Education and Care, and Stephanie Jones, professor in human development and urban education advancement faculty, prevention science and practice

Children who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for pre-K than children who do not, according to a recent finding from the Brookings Institution. This finding stands in sharp contrast to the current state of pre-K education: Half of our nation’s 3- and 4-year-olds are left out of early education all together, and only 1 in 10 child care settings are rated as very high quality.
How do we go about the task of simultaneously expanding and improving early education – creating more classrooms for more children – while also shaping and improving what is happening in those classrooms?
It may seem initially counterintuitive, but the solution is to take a closer look at the adults, not the children – specifically our educators and leaders, from schoolhouse to statehouse. A recent report from the National Academies of Science makes clear that, at its core, quality early childhood education is rooted in the adults who provide it.
Quality starts with creating a thriving village of adults who are prepared, supported and compensated to impact children and one another. If tomorrow’s policies do not support and elevate those adults in the early education field, they will falter in the support they mean to provide for children.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arX

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Prospects Seem Dim for Trump School Choice Initiative This Year
Education Week

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos came to Washington primarily to do one thing: Use the power of her office to expand school choice, her passion for decades.
Members of her own party appeared to deal a major blow to that goal Thursday, when the House panel charged with overseeing education spending approved a bill that doesn’t include two of DeVos’ big budget asks: using an education research program to offer school vouchers, and allowing Title I dollars to follow students to the school of their choice. More on the bill from Andrew here.
DeVos, so far, is undaunted. “The House process is one part of the process,” DeVos said at a press conference Thursday afternoon that focused primarily on college sexual assault. “The Senate will also be a process, and we’re committed to working with the Congress on these budget items and issues, so it’s an ongoing process.”
But DeVos may not have much better luck in the Senate, in part because some Republicans are skeptical of a federal role in school vouchers, Sen. Alexander, R-Tenn., said in an interview Thursday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arT

http://gousoe.uen.org/arW (USN&WR)

 

As Trump and DeVos Push for Private School Choice, Opponents Highlight Vouchers’ Racist Past
Education Week

Today, school vouchers-giving students public money to use toward tuition at private schools-are often reserved for needy students: those with disabilities or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
But vouchers were once deployed during the Jim Crow era to perpetuate segregated school systems post Brown v. Board of Education as detailed in a new policy brief from the Center for American Progress, a progressive public-policy research and advocacy organization.
Understanding how private school vouchers contributed to racial segregation in the nation’s schools is crucial, argue the report’s authors, as the Trump administration and the Department of Education under Secretary Betsy DeVos push for expanding voucher programs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arK

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/arL Center for American Progress)

 

Ed. Dept. Official Hasn’t Read ESSA Carefully, Sen. Alexander Says
Education Week

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., one of the main architects of the Every Student Succeeds Act, thinks Jason Botel-the acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, and one of the education department’s key point people on ESSA-should take a closer look at the law he’s been charged with implementing.
“I think we have a case of an assistant secretary who hasn’t read the law carefully,” Alexander, chairman of the Senate education committee, said in an interview. “The heart of the entire law … was that it’s the state’s decision to set goals, to decide what ‘ambitious’ means, to make decisions to help schools that aren’t performing well.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/arU

 

Governors Tell Congress: Early Education Just as Crucial as Health Care, Tax Reform
Education Week

The nation’s governors told Congress earlier this week that they considered early childhood education policy to be on par with big-ticket issues that often grab more of the spotlight.
In a Thursday letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate education committees, the National Governors Association said that “education and care for our youngest learners is equally important to our nation as health care, tax reform and investments in infrastructure.”
The letter, written on behalf of the NGA by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington state and Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada, connected early education to larger issues, saying that investments in programs for young children ultimately lead to a stronger workforce.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arV

 

New website shows how Colorado schools, school districts spend their money
Denver Post

With a couple of clicks, anyone curious can now see a bare-bones accounting of how much Colorado K-12 schools and school districts spend on students and teachers and what’s been collected in grants and donations.
Other finances are also tracked on a new website launched by the Colorado Department of Education that allows side-to-side comparisons among schools and school districts.
Bear Creek Elementary in Boulder Valley, for instance, spent $6,791 per student last year while $7,679 was spent on each student at Frontier Charter Academy in Greeley-Evans School District, according to the site.
School officials and education watchers applaud the state’s efforts at transparency. But they warn the site only offers a Cliff Notes version of school financing.
Users must study the inner workings of a school to understand what’s going on inside its walls, they say.
Problems arise when people look at numbers and make assumptions about a district without taking into account “nuances, like the size of the district or the number of students it serves, or the type of students they serve,” said Tracie Rainey, executive director of the Colorado School Finance Project, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that studies and researches school finance.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arJ

 

Homework no more for Marion County elementary schools
Tampa Bay (FL) Times

Elementary schools in Marion County will say goodbye to everyday homework in the coming school year after Superintendent Heidi Maier said research shows it does not enhance learning.
Maier, who took office in November, notified parents and teachers of the change at the district’s 31 elementary schools on Wednesday via automated phone message. The new rule will not apply to high school and middle school students.
District public information officer Kevin Christian says the district is calling on parents to replace traditional homework assignments with 20-minute reading sessions in hopes of “getting parents and students involved in something they can do together and enjoy.”
The research Maier cites was conducted by University of Tennessee professor Richard Allington, who specializes in theory and practice in teacher education. The crux of his findings? Reading to a child has more benefits than homework.
Christian summarized the research this way: “Homework for the sake of homework is not advantageous for a student. It isn’t constructive and doesn’t provide a meaningful learning experience.”
He said district leaders would instead like to see bonding time happen between students and their parents, as well as give students the freedom to consume material that genuinely interests them. When it comes to how students learn, he said, “we want them to own it.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/arY

 

Perdue defends school lunch ‘freeze’
Politico

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday celebrated and defended the Trump administration’s recent controversial move to relax some of the school-nutrition standards championed by former first lady Michelle Obama. Perdue was in friendly territory as he spoke to the crowd of some 7,000 professionals at the School Nutrition Association’s annual conference in Atlanta. The crowd cheered, applauded and laughed as Perdue told them that he believed they know much more about their communities and kids than Washington does.
What rollback? Perdue was adamant that the administration’s new policy isn’t a step backward (health advocates and Michelle Obama disagree). “Some have said in the press, as you’ve read, that we’re ‘rolling back’, [that] these rules ‘roll back progress.’ I don’t agree with that,” Perdue said. “We’re freezing things in place to help us evaluate what the palatability, what the acceptance of these changes have been and to reduce the burdens on schools to get you back to feeding kids and not doing paperwork so much anymore.”
Give cinnamon rolls a break: The secretary told the crowd he had vivid memories of the cinnamon rolls his beloved “school lunchroom ladies” served him growing up, saying that when he closed his eyes he could almost taste them.
“You know what? Back then, there was very little childhood obesity. Why’s that? Because we played outside all the time and there were nutritious meals at home,” Perdue said, to cheers. “But we know times have changed. Today you’re still responsible for providing, many times, the main meal for many children.”
SNA bat signal: Perdue said he wants SNA to help USDA make school nutrition standards better. The secretary said he recently invited Lynn Harvey, SNA’s new president, and the organization’s incoming board to come to Washington and give the department “direct, specific advice on how we can make the best rules going forward possible.”
We do have a childhood obesity epidemic: The invite is likely raise the ire of health advocates, who fiercely oppose the association’s efforts to relax some of the nutrition standards championed by Mrs. Obama. The standards are based on recommendations by the Institute of Medicine.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arM

 

Black families believe racial inequality growing in U.S. schools
Philadelphia Tribune

Black families overwhelmingly believe that their schools are underfunded, and that racial inequality is growing, according to a poll conducted by The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Anzalone Liszt Grove Research firm.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund, which is the education and research arm of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, developed the poll to “explore how Black and Latino parents and families view the American education system’s success in educating their children,” according to a press release about the survey.
The poll revealed that 90 percent of Black parents and families believe schools in Black communities are underfunded compared to White communities.
The poll also showed that almost 75 percent of Black parents and families believe that the education Black students receive is worse than what White students.
A report about the poll said that, “Among Black parents and family members whose child’s teachers are mostly White, only 42 percent believe that schools are trying their best to educate Black students, 16 points below the share of those whose children have mostly Black teachers.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/arS

 

Cell Towers At Schools: Godsend Or God-Awful?
NPR

School districts – hard up for cash – are turning to an unlikely source of revenue: cell towers. The multistory metal giants are cropping up on school grounds in Chicago, Milpitas, Calif., Collier County, Fla. and many other places across the country.
The big reason: money. As education budgets dwindle, districts are forming partnerships with telecom companies to allow use of their land in exchange for some of the profits.
Last year, for example, cell towers on seven school sites generated $112,139 in revenue for the schools in Prince George’s County, Md., just outside Washington, D.C.
http://gousoe.uen.org/arR

 

Keith Conners, Psychologist Who Set Standard for Diagnosing A.D.H.D., Dies at 84
New York Times

Keith Conners, whose work with hyperactive children established the first standards for diagnosing and treating what is now known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D. – and who late in life expressed misgivings about how loosely applied that label had become – died on July 5 in Durham, N.C. He was 84.
His wife, Carolyn, said the cause was heart failure.
The field of child psychiatry was itself still young when Dr. Conners joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the early 1960s as a clinical psychologist. Children with emotional and behavioral problems often got a variety of diagnoses, depending on the clinic, and often ended up being given strong tranquilizers as treatment. Working with Dr. Leon Eisenberg, a prominent child psychiatrist, Dr. Conners focused on a group of youngsters who were chronically restless, hyperactive and sometimes aggressive.

Carmen Keith Conners was born on March 20, 1933, in Bingham, Utah, one of three children of Michael and Merle Conners. His father was a machinist, and his mother ran the household and worked at a department store.
The family moved frequently, as Michael Conners chased work, and eventually settled in Salt Lake City (Bingham was later razed to accommodate a copper mine). Keith entered high school there and soon proved himself an exceptional student. On a teacher’s recommendation, he applied for – and won – early entry to the University of Chicago. He left for college at 15 and never got a high school diploma.
http://gousoe.uen.org/as2

 

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

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 3:

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

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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