Education News Roundup: July 17, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

State Board of Education looks to update Utah’s health education standards.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asa (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/asb (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/asI (DN via KSL)
or http://gousoe.uen.org/asc (USBE)

State Board also gives the OK to Park Valley School to move to a four-day school week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asg (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/asm (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/asK (DN via KSL)
or http://gousoe.uen.org/asn (USBE)

Logan Herald Journal looks at teachers’ summer jobs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asD (LHJ)

Is high-stakes testing pushing the worst elementary teachers into the K-2 world?
http://gousoe.uen.org/asT (Chalkbeat)
or a copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/asU (American Educational Research Journal) $

Navajo Nation discusses education sovereignty.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ask (Diverse Issues in Higher Ed)

You could be going back to school this fall in clothes made from recycled plastic bottles.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asP (AP)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

State school board braces for a battle over sex education
Debate looms » Board members want a yearlong review of the state’s health-education standards.

Board OKs rural Box Elder County school’s move to four-day week

Kairos Academy to receive state funding while appealing charter termination

Students get paid to attend summer school, but see other rewards

‘I’m a real person’: Teachers who wear different hats

As young Utah women delay having children, state slips from its trademark rank as the nation’s most fertile state
Fertility rank » The state slips as the number of babies born to women in their early 20s decreased by more than 28 percent between 2007 and 2015.

With changing youth detention guidelines, Juvenile Justice Services conducts public hearings

Maple Mountain welding students take first in national competition

Utah Prep program helps STEM student success

$15,000 grant aims to prevent youth suicide, schools develop Hope Squads

Is specializing in sports worth it?
Specializing in sports has risen across the country as athletes look to gain an edge over their peers. But does it help? The answer may surprise you.

LDS educators association launched at Provo conference

Sheriff’s deputy honored during Ogden Pioneer Days Grand Parade

Utah Educational Savings Plan cuts fees

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Abandoning the Common Core in Utah would cost us more than just money

We need to get more women into U.S. engineering jobs

Climate change and children – a diabolically false dilemma

Best Buddies creates unity in local high schools and universities

Back to drawing board

Dollars and sense

Beware the Four-Day School-Week Trap
A shorter school week could hold students back

With growing national rancor over education, US mayors have the opportunity to lead

Technology Can Be A Tool, A Teacher, A Trickster

A Solution When a Nation’s Schools Fail

NATION

A Summer Education Meltdown: Why Everyone in DC Is Mad About ESSA, Congress, Charters, Choice – or All of the Above
House Education spending bill, ESSA feedback, voucher report, everyone’s unhappy in DC ed world

High-stakes testing may push struggling teachers to younger grades, hurting students

Teachers With Student Debt: The Struggle, The Causes And What Comes Next

Conference Explores Educational Sovereignty for the Navajo Nation

Transgender Students Turn to Courts as Government Support Erodes

Betsy DeVos Invited to Address Annual Special Education Conference

The Power of Inclusive Sex Education
LGBTQ students say they need programming that speaks to them, and some school districts are finding ways to deliver.

Here’s how high school graduation requirements could change in Miss.

Attention parents of Oklahoma students: Delay in state test scores, no history exam next year
Changes include omitting U.S. history test, adding science test for juniors

Afghan girls robotics team competes after visa obstacles

Retailers, brands see green for back-to-school shopping

 

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UTAH NEWS
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State school board braces for a battle over sex education
Debate looms » Board members want a yearlong review of the state’s health-education standards.

Members of the Utah Board of Education took the first step Friday toward updating the state’s health education standards, a minimum 12-month process that could result in major revisions, minor updates, or no change at all to the lessons taught in public schools.
And the school board’s 14-2 vote to begin a review and revision hinted at a looming debate, since health standards include statewide guidelines on teaching human sexuality, a flashpoint for controversy in the majority-conservative Beehive State.
Proponents said an update is needed to reflect modern topics not addressed by previous revisions in 2009 and 1997, like current dietary recommendations, cyberbullying, and e-cigarettes and other recreational drugs.
But critics, like board members Lisa Cummins and Alisa Ellis, argued that discussing revisions creates an opening for comprehensive sexual education to reach Utah students.
“I don’t want to see it coming into our schools and really having a detrimental effect on our children where we already have severe mental health issues of anxiety and [post-traumatic stress disorder] going on,” Cummins said. “We need to be very careful if we go forward with this.”
Utah currently allows an “abstinence-plus” sex education curriculum, which includes some discussion of contraception and reproduction while promoting abstinence as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and disease.
State law previously banned “advocacy of homosexuality” in schools, but in response to a lawsuit that language was replaced in March with a prohibition against encouraging “premarital or extramarital sexual activity.”
Various attempts to enact comprehensive sex education have been sponsored – and defeated – at the Utah Legislature, including a bill this year that was to have allowed parents to choose between abstinence-based and comprehensive options for their children.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asa (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/asc (USBE)

 

Board OKs rural Box Elder County school’s move to four-day week

SALT LAKE CITY – Starting this fall, Park Valley School in rural Box Elder County will operate under a four-day school week.
The Utah State Board of Education voted unanimously Friday afternoon to grant a three-year waiver of the state’s attendance rule to allow the school, which primarily serves children from ranch families, to switch from a five-day school week to the four-day model.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asg (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/asm (SLT)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/asn (USBE)

 

Kairos Academy to receive state funding while appealing charter termination

SALT LAKE CITY – Kairos Academy, a charter school that serves teen moms and pregnant teens, will continue to receive state funding while it appeals the termination of its school charter.
The elected Utah State Board of Education voted Friday to approve the school’s monthly allotment – approximately $58,780 for the month of July and one-twelfth of its annual trust lands payment, about $2,370. Ordinarily, school trust land funds are released in a lump sum.
The school is appealing a decision by the appointed State Charter School Board on June 20 to terminate the school’s charter. The school has appealed the decision and has requested an informal hearing with the Charter School Board, which is scheduled for July 19.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ass (DN)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/ast (USBE)

 

Students get paid to attend summer school, but see other rewards

MIDVALE – Chris Allen readily admits he was in it for the money.
But after completing Hillcrest High School’s summer academy, he realized a much greater payoff: a confident start to high school.
Earlier this summer, the formerly “shy kid” who rarely raised his hand in his middle school classes, addressed incoming freshmen and their parents about the benefits of the school’s summer bridge program, which offers intensive instruction and pays students who regularly attend and complete their work.
After completing the program during the summer of 2016, Chris entered high school as “a kid that’s willing to raise his hand and answer the questions because I actually know the answer.”
He finished his freshman year with a high grade point average, even earning a 4.0 GPA the third quarter.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asq (DN)

 

‘I’m a real person’: Teachers who wear different hats

Middle school math teacher Marc Muir said delivering Domino’s pizza gives him a different outlook.
“Some teachers, they’re excited for Friday to come, and I think Friday is my worst day,” he said.
After he turns off the lights in his South Cache Middle School classroom at 3:30 on Friday afternoon, he has a short break before donning his Domino’s uniform for an eight-hour shift.
Muir started delivering pizza 11 years ago when he was attending Utah State University and kept the gig when he started teaching three years later. He said the money was nice and he wanted to save up to buy a house. Since then, he has worked nearly every Friday and Saturday night year-round.
He said it’s tough to work two jobs, but if he dropped shifts during the school year he would probably miss out during the summer when college students are looking for extra cash.
As Muir teaches more and more students throughout the valley, he has the possibility of delivering pizzas to more former and current students. He said that can lead to the occasional classroom pestering.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asD (LHJ)

 

As young Utah women delay having children, state slips from its trademark rank as the nation’s most fertile state
Fertility rank » The state slips as the number of babies born to women in their early 20s decreased by more than 28 percent between 2007 and 2015.


Utah remains, by far, the state with the highest birthrate – which compares the number of births to the total population, regardless of age or sex. The general fertility rate – generally considered a more accurate measure – is the number of live births per 1,000 girls and women who are between 15 and 44 years old.
Utah women have long had more children than American women do on average. But in a shift that accelerated in 2008, the state’s young women began having fewer children. The number of babies born to women ages 20 to 24 decreased more th an 28 percent between 2007 and 2015.
The number of women in that age group having their first child decreased by more than 25 percent.
In 2015, the fertility rate in South Dakota increased to 78.2, just high enough to overtake Utah, which had a fertility rate of 78.0.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ase (SLT)

 

With changing youth detention guidelines, Juvenile Justice Services conducts public hearings

Officials have been working to explain a sweeping juvenile justice reform bill passed in March through recent public hearings, including a meeting at the Logan Library on Wednesday night.
Juvenile Justice Services Director Susan Burke said the goal of HB 239 is to treat low-level youth offenders differently by providing more upfront early intervention services.
“By doing so, we can keep them out of the system and (keep them from) further penetrating the system and preventing them from then being influenced by the more serious youth who need the services and not mixing those populations,” Burke said.
The new law changes admission guidelines for which offenses can land a youth in detention. The changes, which go into effect Aug. 1, are expected to reduce the number of Utah youth admitted into detention by 10.6 percent.
One of the main changes is that youth who commit three misdemeanors in a single criminal event will not be admissible into detention.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asE (LHJ)

 

Maple Mountain welding students take first in national competition

When the welding fabrication team from Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork sat down for the SkillsUSA national competition awards ceremony, they expected to have more time to get nervous.
But instead of waiting and waiting for the winners from their category to be announced somewhere near the end of the ceremony, as they were expecting, they got the good news early on in the night.
“We get nervous (before winners are announced) and as it gets closer, we get more and more nervous,” Ben Warnick said. “But we didn’t have time to get nervous before they said, ‘welding fabrication.’ Your heart is beating so fast,and they say, ‘California, Oklahoma.’ And you say, OK, we got fourth.’ But then they said we won, and it was a really gratifying moment.”
Warnick, Tyler Christmas and Tosh Davis came in first at this year’s competition after taking third place last year. The group estimates that they likely spent 200 hours preparing for the competition over the course of their junior and senior years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asy (PDH)

 

Utah Prep program helps STEM student success

Math can be maddening for students. But for those interested in STEM-related careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, math is a must.
On Friday, more than 600 middle-school students from around the state came to Utah Valley University to collaborate with professionals and their fellow classmates through hands-on experiences to tighten up their math skills as part of the Utah Prep program.
“The purpose of the program is to prepare them mathematically as they progress through junior high, so when they get to high school they can take a higher-level math classes, and then when they get to college, UVU, wherever they decide to go, they can major in any STEM field they want,” said Carlos Cortez, program director for sponsored research with the Office of Sponsored Programs at UVU.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asA (PDH)

 

$15,000 grant aims to prevent youth suicide, schools develop Hope Squads

CEDAR CITY – As part of their efforts to support ongoing mental health awareness and suicide prevention activities, the Iron County Prevention Coalition recently announced they will be using part of a $15,000 grant to help facilitate “Hope Squads” in five Iron County School District schools to address the issue of youth suicide.
The grant was awarded by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah. This is the third year the Iron County Prevention Coalition has been awarded a grant from NAMI, coalition coordinator Heidi Baxley said. She is also a prevention specialist for Southwest Prevention, a department of the Southwest Behavioral Health Center which sponsors and houses the Iron County Prevention Coalition.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asH (SGN)

 

Is specializing in sports worth it?
Specializing in sports has risen across the country as athletes look to gain an edge over their peers. But does it help? The answer may surprise you.

Most kids dream about, while only a few will ever achieve it. But that won’t stop millions of kids – and their parents – from chasing that goal.
But can you really blame them?
With professional athletes signing contracts well over $100 million these days – and nobody blinking an eye – who wouldn’t want to play the game they love and be an instant millionaire in the process.
So the million dollar question is, how are you going to do it?
Work hard? Yeah, everyone is doing that.
Make a highlight video so you’ll get noticed by all the college coaches? Yup, millions of kids are already doing that too.
With the advance in technology these days, college coaches are able to analyze prospective players better than ever before. And with the world population ever-growing, getting a college scholarship is as tough as it’s ever been.
And for most parents who see tuition continuing to soar, many are left wondering how their kids are going to be able to pay for it. Will they have to live at home while they go to school, or are parents themselves going to have to put off their dream vacation or home improvement projects in order to help pay for their children’s education?
That’s why it should come as no surprise to see parents pushing their kids to participate in sports in hopes they will land that full-ride scholarship. And as young athletes chase that dream – with the help of their parents – many have started to specialize in sports in hopes to gain an advantage and cash in on their investment.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asF (SGS)

 

LDS educators association launched at Provo conference

PROVO – LDS educators finally have a place of their own.
For decades, Mormon professionals have been able to join dozens of associations, physicians and dentists, historians and archaeologists, publishers and mental health providers. There’s a National LDS Homeschool Association.
This weekend, a band of professors, teachers, administrators, students and others launched the LDS Educators Association and held their first conference at BYU, with keynote speeches by BYU-Hawaii President John S. Tanner and Brother Tad R. Callister, general Sunday School president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There’s certainly plenty of potential members and interest. The LDS Church Educational System currently has a record 1.2 million students around the world, with tens of thousands of teachers, said Mark Woodruff, assistant to the commissioner of church education.
With little and late notice, more than 150 people attended Saturday’s sessions at the Maeser Building on the campus of Brigham Young University.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asr (DN)

 

Sheriff’s deputy honored during Ogden Pioneer Days Grand Parade

OGDEN – A 14-year Weber County Sheriff’s deputy who cares about kids will be honored during the Ogden Pioneer Days Grand Parade.
Deputy Tyler Greenhalgh was chosen to ride in a car during the parade to represent dedicated officers in the area.
A school resource officer at T.H. Bell Junior High School in Washington Terrace, Greenhalgh said he centers his efforts on helping children.
“I’d be willing to lay my life down for those kids if I could,” he said.
Moved by a memorial to honor victims of the December 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, Greenhalgh said he remembers the exact moment when he decided his police work needed to be about children.
The discovery came the moment he lit a lantern at an event honoring a former Ogden resident, Emilie Parker, who was one of the victims in the shooting.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asx (OSE)

 

Utah Educational Savings Plan cuts fees

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Educational Savings Plan has reduced its administrative asset fee for most of its college savings investment options and eliminated its administrative mail delivery fee. The changes became effective July 1.
“Fees should not be a barrier to families saving for the higher education of their children. These adjustments are part of our ongoing effort to make college more attainable to families from all walks of life,” Lynne Ward, the plan’s executive director, said in a press release.
Utah’s official and only tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan offers 14 investment options to families investing for future qualified higher education expenses. According to the release, the plan also made other changes that improve flexibility and provide additional diversity to account portfolios.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asv (DN)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Abandoning the Common Core in Utah would cost us more than just money
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Even if it were free for Utah to abandon its version of education standards based on the Common Core, it would still be a bad idea. The state, and its students, would lose a lot more than just money.
One member of the State Board of Education recently tried to explain to another member how a total re-write of the basic math and English standards that Utah has drafted, approved, implemented, updated and disseminated to public and charter schools all over the state might cost $100 million in taxpayer money.
And, as board member Spencer Stokes rightly said, “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.”
But even if such a redo would cost a tenth of that, it would still be a foolish thing to do.
The only reason board members are even talking about this is the continuing pressure brought by sincere but seriously confused people who think the Common Core is some kind of foreign take-over of the state’s educational system, something imposing a fearful, and imaginary, philosophy of sex and socialism.
The insistence among Common Core opponents that Utah should design its own standards and expectations, who see no value in cooperating across state lines to help local schools fit into the national economy and society that our graduates will be part of, makes no sense at all.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asd

 

We need to get more women into U.S. engineering jobs
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Laura Bogusch, general manager of Boeing Salt Lake, and Alison Spencer, foundation director of Utah STEM

America needs the skills and talent of every one of its citizens, especially in science and engineering fields, to ensure we are the strongest, most innovative economy in the world.
As women in STEM fields, the successful film “Hidden Figures” really hit home. When films like this succeed, it demonstrates that our society is ready to celebrate smart, strong, effective women. Unfortunately, the numbers show that in practice, we have not come far enough. We still have a long way to go.
Today, only 13 percent of U.S. engineering jobs are held by women. Overall, only one in four jobs in tech, engineering and math is held by women. And female engineers still earn just 82 percent of what comparable male coworkers earn.
Within organizations, a recent MIT study found, women engineers are often discouraged or shut out from opportunities by flawed group dynamics and biases that steer the most interesting and challenging opportunities to men.
Fortunately, these are challenges we have the tools to solve
http://gousoe.uen.org/asY

 

Climate change and children – a diabolically false dilemma
Deseret News commentary by columnist Hal Boyd

This week, researchers published an article in Environmental Research Letters suggesting that – far more than living without a car, recycling, buying green energy and eating an all-plant-based diet – the best thing one can personally do to combat climate change is to (wait for it) have fewer kids.
While having fewer children may reduce carbon emissions, in the process it will thrust the West deeper into a demographic winter from which America and its European allies may never fully thaw.
One less baby, these researchers say, will save a whopping 58.6 tons of C02-equivalent each year. For perspective, they estimate that living without a car saves only 2.4 tons annually.
The message is simple: if you want to save the planet from global warming, stop having so many kids.
For those who put stock in this sort of a study, the findings present a diabolical dilemma: The very people who read peer-reviewed articles on climate change and adjust their lifestyles accordingly are likely researchers, scientists, quants, quark-heads and Ph.D.ers. In other words, they are highly educated individuals who care deeply about climate change – precisely the kind of people that these researchers would likely say the world needs more of if future generations are to tackle complicated climate-related quagmires.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asf

 

Best Buddies creates unity in local high schools and universities
(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by columnist Monica Villar

Anyone who happened to catch the ESPN “ESPY” Awards last Wednesday, received a very moving lesson on the history of the Special Olympics. Eunice Kennedy Shriver posthumously received the “Arthur Ash Courage Award” for her work in creating and building the Special Olympics program to what it is today. Her son, Timothy Shriver, current Chair of the Special Olympics, accepted the award on her behalf.
In his very moving acceptance speech Shriver recognized that there “is still a lot of work to do.” He was referring to some of the struggles that students with developmental and intellectual disabilities encounter at school. This brings me to a second of many of the organizations in which the Shriver family is involved to support people with disabilities.
I am writing about the “Best Buddies” program this week as we hit the middle of summer mark and kids are starting to realize that a new school year is coming up fast. “Best Buddies” was founded by another Shriver sibling, Anthony Shriver, in 1989. His intent was to create an organization that would “foster one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/asz

 

Back to drawing board
Deseret News letter from Jean Lown

As a family economist, I am 100 percent in favor of increasing taxes to fund education. However, I strongly oppose the current “Our Schools Now” proposal to increase regressive taxes that will burden low- and moderate-income Utahns. Do not increase the sales tax! While the proposed sales tax increase is only a half-percent, sales taxes are regressive, meaning they fall most heavily on those who can least afford to pay. The flat income tax is also regressive. It costs low- and moderate-income earners more in relation to income than high earners. Bring back the progressive income tax. A review of the organizers suggests that these prominent business leaders can easily afford higher taxes. I would gladly pay higher income taxes to support education under a progressive income tax. Taxes are essential to an educated democracy. Our Schools Now promoters need to go back to the drawing board to craft a more equitable funding proposal. Increase taxes for education, but get it right.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asw

Dollars and sense
(St. George) Spectrum letter from Norm Pakulski

Making everyone pay for schools again? If I golf or go to the movies, I pay a price. If parents have kids going to school in Utah, they pay the price. To raise taxes for everyone makes no sense.
Want to raise money? Here’s how: Take the tax exemption for kids off the tax basics, or limit it to two. There are families with five or more kids in our school using tax money and getting the benefit to boot. Not right. Let them pay just like me.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asG

 

Beware the Four-Day School-Week Trap
A shorter school week could hold students back
Education Week op-ed by Paul Hill, founder of the Center on Reinventing Public Education

As many school districts around the nation grapple with declines in state funding, some district leaders are arriving at a questionable solution: Cut the school week to four days. But are these districts adopting the shorter week without both considering other ways to save money and counting the risks to students?
In Oklahoma, where nearly a hundred school districts have shifted to four-day weeks, districts that cut instructional days still keep classrooms open for the same number of hours per year by extending the remaining school days, according to The Washington Post. All teachers and most professional staff get the same annual pay for the four longer days, with the savings coming only from that fifth day of busing costs, utility bills, and wages of some support staff, such as those in custodial or food services. Given that professional salaries account for the lion’s share of district spending, this is a tough way to save money.
Newcastle, one such hard-hit Oklahoma district, saved $110,000 per year out of its $12 million annual budget by switching to a four-day week. The district cut 20 percent of its school days in order to save 0.9 percent (yes, that’s nine-tenths of one percent) of its budget. Districts in other states get about the same results, according to a 2011 study from the Education Commission of the States.
There are lots of ways to save 1 percent of the budget, none pain-free.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asR

 

With growing national rancor over education, US mayors have the opportunity to lead
(Washington, DC) The Hill op-ed by BART PETERSON, past two-term mayor of Indianapolis

The education policy discourse has grown increasingly toxic in Washington, exposing deepening divides over issues ranging from K-12 funding to school choice.
This time of federal deadlock offers a new reminder that our nation’s mayors must take greater ownership of education.
Mayors have stepped out on other prominent issues recently where the federal government has balked, most notably on climate change. Now they should leverage their unique position as the leaders closest to the people to move past the partisan federal debates on education and drive change in their communities’ K-12 systems.
Mayors are well-positioned because their proximity to the most important decisionmakers – those who lead local school districts – allows them to craft customized policy solutions that fit the local environment and build the local implementation strategies that federal policy changes so often lack.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asW

 

Technology Can Be A Tool, A Teacher, A Trickster
NPR commentary by TANIA LOMBROZO, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley

Those of my generation have seen enormous advances in speech recognition systems.
In the early days, the user had to train herself to the system, exaggerating phonemes, speaking in slow staccato bursts. These days, it’s the system that trains itself to the user. The results aren’t perfect, but they’re pretty darn good.
The development of speech recognition illustrates one facet of the relationship between people and technology. Sometimes, we have to change ourselves to meet the technology where it is. But the goal is often the other way around: to improve the technology to fit us as we are.
That’s why it’s interesting to reflect on some exceptions to the rule – cases where technology isn’t just a tool, but also a teacher. Good teachers meet their students where they are, and they adapt their methods accordingly. But the ultimate goal isn’t to accommodate the student as he is, it’s to change the student by changing the way he thinks and acts. When technology is a teacher, it isn’t enough for the technology to adapt; we need to change ourselves, too. This turns out to have some interesting implications.
Consider some examples. Tutoring systems, language learning apps, and educational games are all designed to change our mental abilities. Weight loss apps, posture sensors, and exercise monitors are designed to change the way we behave. The ultimate aim is for YOU to learn Mandarin or achieve some target weight, not to have a device that translates your English into Mandarin for you, or creates the illusion of lower mass.
It’s when we consider what it takes to change mental abilities or behaviors that things start to get interesting. Take the case of learning a language. The best teacher isn’t necessarily the nicest teacher, or the easiest teacher, or the most flexible teacher. The best teacher (qua teacher) is the one who does the best job getting you to learn the language.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asN

 

A Solution When a Nation’s Schools Fail
New York Times commentary by columnist Nicholas Kristof

BUCHANAN, Liberia – Imagine an elementary school where students show up, but teachers don’t. Where 100 students squeeze into a classroom but don’t get any books. Where teachers are sometimes illiterate and periodically abuse students. Where families pay under the table to get a “free” education, yet students don’t learn to read.
That’s public education in many poor countries.
And it’s why the hostility of American teachers unions and some of their progressive supporters to trials of private management of public schools abroad is so misconceived. This country, Liberia, is leading an important experiment in helping kids learn in poor countries – and it’s undermined by misguided Americans, including some of my fellow liberals.
“The status quo has failed,” George Werner, Liberia’s education minister, told me. “Teachers don’t show up, even though they’re paid by the government. There are no books. Training is very weak. School infrastructure is not safe.
“We have to do something radical,” he added.
So Liberia is handing over some public schools to Bridge International Academies, a private company backed by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, to see if it can do better.
So far, it seems it can – much better.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asX

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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A Summer Education Meltdown: Why Everyone in DC Is Mad About ESSA, Congress, Charters, Choice – or All of the Above
House Education spending bill, ESSA feedback, voucher report, everyone’s unhappy in DC ed world
The 74

Washington, D.C. — The nation’s capital went through a heat wave last week at the same time that a series of education world events sent policymakers’ and advocates’ tempers rising right alongside the thermometer.
Several disputes, big and small, erupted throughout the week, but the two main battles involved the Education Department funding bill and the department’s ongoing feedback to states on their plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Wednesday afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee released the text of its Education Department spending bill. It cut $2.4 billion from the department, including ending $2 billion in teacher training grants.
Education advocacy groups have been unsparing in their criticism, and a top Democrat Thursday said it “appears to me to be anti-teacher.”
All the Democrats on the committee voted against advancing the bill, but administration Republicans can’t be happy with it, either.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asj

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

 

High-stakes testing may push struggling teachers to younger grades, hurting students
Chalkbeat

Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade are often free of the high-stakes testing common in later grades – but those years are still high-stakes for students’ learning and development.
That means it’s a big problem when schools encourage their least effective teachers to work with their youngest students. And a new study says that the pressure of school accountability systems may be encouraging exactly that.
“Evidence on the importance of early-grades learning for later life outcomes suggests that a system that pushes schools to concentrate ineffective teachers in the earliest grades could have serious unintended consequences,” write study authors Jason Grissom of Vanderbilt and Demetra Kalogrides and Susanna Loeb of Stanford.
The research comes at an opportune time. All 50 states are in the middle of crafting new systems designed to hold schools accountable for student learning. And this is just the latest study to point out just how much those systems matter – for good and for ill.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asT

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/asU (American Educational Research Journal) $

Teachers With Student Debt: The Struggle, The Causes And What Comes Next
NPR

“I am overloaded and struggling. It’s terrifying.”
“I feel like I’ll be making the last payment from my grave.”
“It is an albatross around my neck. Years of paying and I feel like I’m getting nowhere.”
“Help!”
Those were some of the comments we received from more than 2,000 respondents to NPR Ed’s first Teacher Student Debt survey.
Teachers are paid significantly less than many other highly educated professionals. We decided to take a look at student debt among teachers specifically, because we see it as a crossroads of several big trends: chronic concerns over teacher pay amid calls to improve teacher quality; the rising cost of higher ed; the increasing reliance on loans to pay for it; and changing policies from the Trump administration.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ash

Conference Explores Educational Sovereignty for the Navajo Nation
Diverse Issues in Higher Education

More than 70 Navajo teachers, administrators and counselors from four states convened at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, on June 20 and 21 to explore challenges and strategies for promoting educational sovereignty for the Navajo Nation.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Timothy Benally set the tone for the conference by challenging the participants to examine the structure and politics, and also the curriculum necessary to move toward true educational sovereignty for the Navajo Nation.
Dr. Manley Begay, Jr., from Northern Arizona University and a member of the board of trustees at Fielding Graduate University, delivered the keynote address on “Navajo Nation Building: Challenges and Hopes for the Future.”
Navajo graduates from the doctoral program of the Fielding Graduate University presented their research related to infusing Navajo values, culture, language and history into the curriculum and advancing education opportunities in the Nation. Major sections for discussion at the conference included Navajo goals for Navajo education; Navajo culture and principles; effective classroom instruction; and higher education and professional development.
A consistent theme explored by both the speakers and the audience of Navajo educators was how education can be better aligned with the Mission of the Department of Diné Education which is “to provide lifelong learning for the Navajo People and to ensure the cultural integrity and sovereignty of the Navajo Nation.” Specific research was presented on how to integrate weaving, Navajo creation stories, drumming and singing into the curriculum.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ask

 

Transgender Students Turn to Courts as Government Support Erodes
New York Times

Transgender students once found an ally in the Department of Education, which under the Obama administration robustly investigated alleged violations of their civil rights and argued that federal laws against sex discrimination ensured their access to public school bathrooms and changing facilities.
But that has changed in the months since President Trump took office. Since February, the department and its Office of Civil Rights have reversed their position on bathroom access and rescinded the findings of at least one civil rights investigation. Advocacy groups say the two have also made confusing statements about discrimination against gay and transgender students.
This quick erosion of support has reinforced the importance of the court system for transgender students, many advocates said. But, paradoxically, it has also made it harder for such students to pursue civil rights claims.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asO

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

 

Betsy DeVos Invited to Address Annual Special Education Conference
Education Week

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been invited to address the audience of an annual conference in Washington sponsored by the federal office of special education programs.
The three-day OSEP Leadership Conference starts on July 17 and draws special education experts from around the country to discuss policy issues affecting students with disabilities. Her appearance would mark the first time the secretary has met with a special-education focused audience, after a bumpy introduction to the topic.
There’s plenty to discuss this year: the president’s proposed budget doesn’t make many changes to current special education funding levels, but it does include money for projects related to school choice, including a $1 billion increase to Title I funding that would be earmarked for public school choice, and a $250 million program that would pay for, and study, private-school vouchers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asB

A copy of the Secretary’s speech
http://gousoe.uen.org/asC (ED)

 

The Power of Inclusive Sex Education
LGBTQ students say they need programming that speaks to them, and some school districts are finding ways to deliver.
Atlantic

The night the cable channel Freeform aired an LGBTQ sex-education-themed episode of its teen drama The Fosters earlier this spring, Madison Russell spent the evening in front of her television with tears rolling down her face. A high-school junior, Russell has identified as a lesbian since age 11, but when she took a school-mandated sex education class at her Hiram, Georgia, high school, she couldn’t see herself in the curriculum. “We were informed on the types of protection for heterosexual couples, but never the protection options for gay/lesbian couples,” Russell said. LGBTQ kids weren’t even mentioned.
Russell’s experiences aren’t unique to rural Georgia. According to a 2013 survey by GLSEN, a national nonprofit focused on providing safe educational spaces for LGBTQ students, just 5 percent of LGBTQ students reported having health classes that included positive representations of LGBTQ-related topics. And a 2015 study by the Public Religion Research Institute found just 12 percent of millennials said their sex education classes covered same-sex relationships at all.
But sex ed is changing in America, and not just on teen TV shows. An increasing number of school districts from Washington state to Washington, D.C. are revamping their sexual-education courses to look more like the student populations they serve.
Currently, 12 states require discussion of sexual orientation in sex education, according to a Guttmacher Institute review of sex ed in America, while the rest leave the matter up to individual districts. Of the 12 with a requirement, three require the schools only disseminate negative information about sexual orientation. The remaining nine states mandate that any sexual-health classes taught in public schools be inclusive, providing science-based information that addresses sexual orientation; four of those states require public-school teachers to cover gender identity.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asV

 

Here’s how high school graduation requirements could change in Miss.
Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger

Heads up, Class of 2022!
The state Board of Education on Thursday proposed new graduation requirements that will provide Mississippi’s future high schoolers with the opportunity to earn academic or career and technical endorsements along with their traditional diplomas.
Jean Massey with the state Department of Education explained that the endorsements are aimed at showing students’ college preparedness or workforce readiness.
Massey told board members Thursday that often parents and students are mistaken in thinking a high school diploma alone demonstrates college readiness.
That’s not the case, she explained. In 2014, more than 42 percent of students in the state’s community college system and 17 percent attending Mississippi’s public universities required remediation, according to an analysis by The Hechinger Report.
And lawmakers have expressed concern about the $35 million annually spent on helping unprepared high school graduates get up to speed for college.
The idea behind the endorsements, Massey said, is to get parents thinking about the future.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asl

 

Attention parents of Oklahoma students: Delay in state test scores, no history exam next year
Changes include omitting U.S. history test, adding science test for juniors
Tulsa (OK) World

A recent overhaul of Oklahoma’s state assessments and school accountability system means a longer wait for districts and parents to see the results of their students’ test scores and school report cards.
The changes to state assessments include the omission of a U.S. history test for the 2017-18 school year and the addition of a science test for 11th-graders, who will also take either the SAT or ACT to meet state testing requirements.
Educators were updated on the new assessments and school accountability system last week during the Oklahoma State Department of Education’s annual, traveling conference, called EngageOK.
That’s when a number of educators were also apparently caught off guard by news that a U.S. history test would not be administered in high schools in the spring.
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister has been responding to questions and concerns from teachers who were surprised by the omission of that test from next year’s state assessment schedule.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asi

 

Afghan girls robotics team competes after visa obstacles
Associated Press

WASHINGTON – A robotics team of six girls from Afghanistan is taking part in an international competition in Washington, after clearing visa obstacles that prompted intervention from President Donald Trump.
The team’s ball-sorting robot played in its first game on Monday morning.
The team is competing against teams from more than 150 countries in the FIRST Global Challenge. It’s a robotics competition designed to encourage youths to pursue careers in math and science.
Like other robots in the competition, the girls’ robot can recognize blue and orange and sort balls into correct locations.
The team was twice rejected for U.S. visas. They arrived in Washington from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, early Saturday after Trump’s last-minute intervention to sidestep the visa system.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asM

 

Retailers, brands see green for back-to-school shopping
Associated Press

NEW YORK – For the back-to-school season, many parents and their kids are thinking green.
Concerns about the environment have them looking for secondhand clothing or fashions made from reused material – but price still rules. Shoppers want quality and style in backpacks, jeans and the like without spending a lot more money.
Retailers like H&M, Target and J.C. Penney are coming out with more clothes that use waste from all sorts of sources, like recycled denim or leather, nylon waste, remnants of old garments, or even plastic bottles.
J.C. Penney is delivering three styles of jeans this fall made from 20 percent polyester created from bottles under its Arizona brand, after seeing what it believes to be teen customers searching for “recycled jeans” on its site, the company said. Target started offering fashions made of polyester created from recycled plastic bottles with last year’s launch of its children’s brand Cat & Jack after focus groups of parents and children expressed interest in eco-friendly products.
James Reinhart, CEO and founder of the online used clothing marketplace Thredup, says he’s finding that many of the site’s shoppers aren’t motivated just by price the way they used to be, but also because of environmental concerns.
http://gousoe.uen.org/asP

 

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UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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 4:

Utah State Board of Education meeting
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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