Education News Roundup: July 18, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

For ENR the most interesting graphic from the new report on Utah demographic projections is found on page 28, Utah’s dependency ratios. It shows that somewhere between 2030 and 2040 there will be more retired people in Utah than children under the age of 18. That gap will continue to grow in favor of retired people through 2060. That will pose an interesting problem for future policy makers in getting funds for public ed. (SLT)
and (DN)
and (PDH)
and (KUTV)
and (KUER)
or a copy of the report (Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)

The Legislature wrestles with eminent domain and charter schools. (DN)
and (AP)
and (AP via OSE)
and (AP via CVD)
and (KSL)
and (AP via USN&WR)

Box Elder School District wants to take a closer look at its teacher turnover rate. (OSE)

The Jerome, Idaho, School Districts offers kudos to the Utah State Board of Education for its assistance with Jerome’s dual immersion program. (Twin Falls [ID] Times-News)

Holy Cross Education Professor Jack Schneider looks at potential reasons behind the decades-long PR conundrum of public schools: Polls routinely find that the school my child goes to rates an A or B while all the other schools in America rate a C or D. He also considers some of the policy implications of these beliefs. (Atlantic)
or a copy of the poll (PDK)

New report finds parents’ spending on college education is decrease while use of student loans is increasing. (Reuters)
and (CSM)
or a copy of the report (Sallie Mae)



Study predicts: Utah County will ‘become much more like Salt Lake County’ in next 50 years
In 50 years, S.L., Utah counties could be almost equal in number of residents.

Lawmakers seek recommendations on eminent domain policy for charter schools

Box Elder looks to exit survey for answers to high teacher turnover rate

Ogden entities partner to provide education, food during summer months

S.L. schools receive $300K for fresh fruit, vegetable program

A Jerome school will expand its rare English-Spanish program

Artificial turf temperatures too hot for young athletes? KSL investigates

Park Valley schools gets state board approval to move to 4-day school week

St. George Wine Club contributes $12,500 to arts, education programs

Former teacher sentenced to jail for abusing student

Former Landmark High School teacher files motion to withdraw guilty plea to forcible sexual abuse

Car of former Ogden man, wanted in triple homicide, found abandoned in Wyoming

Roy High vandalized over weekend; case turned over to police

Arby’s Weather Kids: North Star Elementary


Utahns owe their children the full story when teaching sex education

The $50 million in waste lurking in Utah’s budget

The instructional triangle

Health and education are what make America great

Why Americans Think So Poorly of the Country’s Schools
Are public schools generally meeting Americans’ expectations? Or are they teetering on the brink of failure?

New report examines the educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race and ethnicity

Can Digital Equity Close the Achievement Gap?

How Universal College Admission Tests Help Low-Income Students

The Trouble With Trade School


States Bristle as DeVos Ed. Dept. Critiques Their ESSA Plans

Trump Administration Abruptly Cuts Off Teen Pregnancy Prevention Funding

Illinois governor to block Chicago schools’ funding boost

Texas business leaders call on lawmakers to drop ‘bathroom bill’

Advocacy groups urge states to protect transgender students

Few Teachers of the Year Support School Vouchers

U.S. parents spending less on college tuition, study finds

Why Aren’t Students Showing Up For College?

High Court Justice Spotlights Civics Education at 9th Circuit Conference

Japan to set aside $36 billion for education, growth steps in FY2018 budget

Turkey rolls out new school curriculum – without Darwin



Study predicts: Utah County will ‘become much more like Salt Lake County’ in next 50 years
In 50 years, S.L., Utah counties could be almost equal in number of residents.

Watch out Salt Lake County, Utah County is gaining on you – and in the next 50 years will become almost as populous.
By 2065, Salt Lake County is projected to have 1.69 million people (up from just under 1.1 million in 2015), with Utah County only slightly behind at 1.62 million (up from 586,000 now).
That’s according to population projections released Monday by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.
“The growth dynamic of the urban area is clearly shifting to Utah County, which is evolving into a more diversified economic and demographic place,” said Pam Perlich, director of demographic research at the institute.
In fact, during the next half century, nearly one of every four new state residents will live in Utah County – three quarters of them from births, according to the projections.
“We see a shift of population south, a shift of political power south, and shifting some economic activity south,” said Natalie Gochnour, director of the institute. (SLT) (DN) (PDH) (KUTV) (KUER)

A copy of the report (Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute)


Lawmakers seek recommendations on eminent domain policy for charter schools

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah lawmakers are considering policy changes to speed up the acquisition of land for new charter schools and further expansions of existing schools.
On Monday, the Administrative Rules Review Committee questioned what authority charter schools have to call on the state to seize property through eminent domain laws. While schools operating under charter are considered public education, the charter developers are often private entities that own the school facilities, leaving the question of whether such an arrangement could fit within the state’s definitions for where eminent domain is permissible.
“There is confusion about how a charter school can exercise (eminent domain),” said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper. “A charter school can exercise it. It’s very clear that they are public schools and do have that authority.”
Stephenson said the problem in a number of cases for charter schools has been with them seeking to use eminent domain to gather a small property to complete their planned footprint, where cities do not wish to exercise eminent domain for such a small purpose.
“We also have the state charter board and the state board and then the charter school itself, and there is confusion about which one of them would be optimal for exercising that,” Stephenson said. (DN) (AP) (AP via OSE) (AP via CVD) (KSL) (AP via USN&WR)


Box Elder looks to exit survey for answers to high teacher turnover rate

BOX ELDER – Box Elder School District officials have concerns with the number of teachers they’re losing every year and hope an exit survey will help shed some light on the problem.
At a July 12 meeting, the Board of Education discussed implementing an anonymous exit survey, something Assistant Superintendent Terry Jackson said in a subsequent interview he hopes to have happen by spring 2018.
Jackson said the district has about 550 teacher positions and hired about 70 teachers this year, putting their teacher turnover rate at 13 percent.
This is an increase from the 10 percent rate reported by the Standard-Examiner for the 2012-13 school year. Jackson said teacher departures rose to the level of concern about five years ago.
“We know there are issues with monetary compensation, but what are those other things we may be able to do that would create a compelling reason to stay within the Box Elder School District?” he said. “That’s what we’re really looking at.” (OSE)


Ogden entities partner to provide education, food during summer months

OGDEN – The many kids at Lester Park spent the afternoon Friday, July 14, learning about music and drumming along with African drum player Deja Mitchell.
They also sat down for lunch.
The Ogden School District’s federally-funded summer lunch program feeds about 3,000 mouths on a good day, Child Nutrition Program Registered Dietitian Kristine Scott said.
The district had 74 percent of its enrolled students on free and reduced lunches last year, and while Scott said that factors into the summer lunch program, it’s also about tradition.
“Even for families who may be able to afford it, this can free up a little money for them to do something else or enjoy their summer a little differently,” she said.
On Friday, children gathered for Arts in the Park, a summer program held by Weber State University for the last eight years. Science in the Park, another summer offering with free lunch, has also taken place for the last 10 years. (OSE)


S.L. schools receive $300K for fresh fruit, vegetable program

SALT LAKE CITY – The federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program has awarded more than $316,000 in grants to 16 elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District for the 2017-2018 school year.
The grant is designed to increase fresh fruit and vegetable consumption among students. (DN)


A Jerome school will expand its rare English-Spanish program

JEROME – A program in Jerome where students learn in both English and Spanish is so popular it’s expanding next school year – and there’s already a waiting list.
The Jerome School District is adding second grade to its dual immersion program at Jefferson Elementary School. It’s part of a long-term plan: adding one grade level each year as children progress through school.
Dual immersion supporters say it has many benefits such as helping students academically and with cognitive reasoning skills. And in many countries outside the United States, it’s common for children to grow up learning multiple languages.

“We tried to accommodate as many of the families as we could through the lottery,” school principal Angie Brulotte said, which was held in mid-May.
If a child didn’t get into dual immersion kindergarten, there’s a chance they could start up until January of their first-grade year if a spot becomes available, Brulotte said. That’s considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on the child.

“The desire for dual immersion programs has definitely grown,” she said. “We’re so close to Utah where it’s the norm.”
The Utah State Board of Education has a huge dual immersion program for schools. Brulotte said her school is following Utah’s model. “They’ve been incredibly generous with us for professional development.” (Twin Falls [ID] Times-News)


Artificial turf temperatures too hot for young athletes? KSL investigates

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s 98 degrees Fahrenheit on a July day and after receiving complaints about how hot artificial turf can get, KSL’s investigative team set out to take several temperature readings.

But this hot new trend isn’t only popping up at city parks, it’s also giving way to million-dollar makeovers of high school football fields.
A KSL Investigators records request sent to several Utah school districts revealed the cost to taxpayers to replace grass football fields with turf can range from $500,000 to $1.5 million.
Information obtained by KSL also revealed that not all districts take temperature readings on the turf. But KSL’s results showed surface temperatures can hover around 180 F.
For example, measurements taken at Brighton High School during the afternoon of July 6 showed the turf got as hot as 179 F; at Lehi High School the turf measured 169 F; at Jordan High School the temperature gauge showed 173 F. (KSL)


Park Valley schools gets state board approval to move to 4-day school week

PARK VALLEY — The Utah State Board of Education approved a Park Valley school’s move to a four-day week.
Park Valley Elementary and Secondary School will have a four-day school week effective this fall because many students enrolled are a part of farming and ranching families and are often pulled from school to help out at home.
Assistant Superintendent Terry Jackson said the board approved a three-year waiver on a five-day school week requirement. The district will have to provide the state with an annual report on students’ test scores to assure they’re keeping up with other schools. (OSE)


St. George Wine Club contributes $12,500 to arts, education programs

ST. GEORGE – The St. George Wine Club – a registered nonprofit organization – recently announced it topped its first year of charitable giving to local arts and education programs by $2,500 over last year.
For fiscal year 2016-2017, which ended on June 30, the club returned a total of $12,500 to the greater St. George community.
Thanks to donations made by club members at each monthly social, the Wine Club was able to offer “mini-grants” ranging from $500 to $1,000 to such organizations as the Kayenta Arts Foundation, the Elks Scholarship Foundation, the DiFiore Center for Arts and Education and ZION Music Ensembles. (SGN)


Former teacher sentenced to jail for abusing student

SALT LAKE CITY – A former Cottonwood High teacher convicted of sexually abusing a 15-year-old student in his classroom has been sentenced to jail.
Corbin Vance Robinson, 38, of Holladay, was convicted in March of sex abuse of a minor student, a third-degree felony. On Friday, he was given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to serve one year in the Salt Lake County Jail, followed by three years of probation.
Robinson was originally charged with nine counts of sexual abuse of a minor, a third-degree felony.
The first-year social studies teacher had been exchanging inappropriate texts with one of his students, according to the charges. (DN) (SLT) (DN via KSL)


Former Landmark High School teacher files motion to withdraw guilty plea to forcible sexual abuse

A former Landmark High School teacher, Sarah Lewis, has filed a motion to withdraw her guilty plea to one charge of forcible sexual abuse.
Lewis, who taught dance and social studies at Landmark High School, was scheduled to be sentenced Monday in Fourth District Court for alleged sexual activity with two male students.
She was originally arrested in January on suspicion of having sexual activity with a minor after providing him alcohol, and was charged with rape of a minor.
A second student later came forward alleging sexual activity with Lewis, who struck a plea deal in June and pleaded guilty to one count of forcible sexual abuse.
But Lewis’ public defender, Thomas Means, filed a motion to dismiss Lewis’ guilty plea on July 12.
In the affidavit, Means wrote that he originally advised Lewis to plead guilty because “(T)he male was younger than 18 years of age, and 2) at the time of the conduct Sarah Lewis occupied a position of special trust in relation to the male, i.e. a teacher employed by a public secondary school who was 18 years of age or older.”
But, Means wrote in the affidavit, when reviewing the related state statutes for another case, he noticed that the statute had been amended in 2014. Means now believes that an adult having unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 or 17 year old is subject to a third degree felony, rather than the second-degree penalty of forcible sexual abuse. (PDH)


Car of former Ogden man, wanted in triple homicide, found abandoned in Wyoming

CALDWELL, Idaho – Police found the car of Gerald Michael Bullinger, a former Ogden man considered a person of interest in a triple homicide, abandoned in a remote Wyoming campground, officials say.
Chief Deputy Marv Dashiell of the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office in Idaho said Bullinger’s white 2007 Ford Focus was found Wednesday, July 12, northwest of Moran, Wyoming, in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, near its border with the Grand Teton National Park.
Dashiell said information officials have gathered indicates the car might have been there about three weeks before law enforcement was notified. The car has been processed for evidence, Dashiell said, but officials are not releasing any information about their findings.
The Teton County Sheriff’s Office, the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Teton County Emergency Management and the FBI have since been searching the area for Bullinger.
Bullinger is the owner of the house at 216 S. KCID Road in Caldwell, Idaho, where the bodies of three women were found June 19. Each died from a single gunshot wound, police said.
Last month, authorities confirmed one of the victims on the Caldwell property was Cheryl Baker, 56, of Ogden. Baker was Bullinger’s wife, and the two had bought the Caldwell property together.
Baker, who taught deaf students for more than 30 years, had planned to spend her retirement in Caldwell. The identities of the other two victims on the property have not yet been confirmed. (OSE) (Jackson Hole [WY] News & Guide) (KTVX) (KSL) (KNRS) (AP)


Roy High vandalized over weekend; case turned over to police

ROY – Roy High School was the target of vandalism over the weekend and the incident has been turned over to the Roy City Police Department.
Roy High Principal Kirt Swalberg said the vandalism occurred early Sunday morning. The west side of the school building, the dugout on the third-base side of the baseball field and a wall beyond the left-field fence on the baseball field, as well as some doors and windows, were all spray painted.
“Obviously, they like their vulgar words,” Swalberg said.
Swalberg said there were also lines spray painted, as well as a “picture of some weird face.”
As of Monday evening, Roy police didn’t respond to multiple requests for information. No damage estimates were available. (OSE)


Arby’s Weather Kids: North Star Elementary

Chief Meteorologist Dan Pope was joined by North Star Elementary Weather Kids at Arby’s Redwood location. (KTVX)



Utahns owe their children the full story when teaching sex education
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Ignorance is not a Utah value.
At least it shouldn’t be. But every time anyone tries to discuss sex education in this state, influential people step up to claim that there basically shouldn’t be any such thing because it will lead our tender youth astray.
The most recent example of this autonomic stimulus and response (that will be on the test) was heard at Friday’s meeting of the Utah State Board of Education.
Board members dutifully took up the matter of the regular update of the state’s curriculum for health education and, just as dutifully, two of the members objected to any change in the current approach, something called an “abstinence-plus” curriculum. That’s the version that allows some talk of contraception and reproduction, but stresses abstinence as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy and disease.
Which, of course, it is. Until it isn’t.
Until healthy young people with healthy species-preserving urges lose themselves in a moment that they were unequipped to avoid, or to minimize risk of, because they weren’t made familiar with the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


The $50 million in waste lurking in Utah’s budget
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Evelyn Everton, Utah state director of Americans for Prosperity

Utahns are proud of their state – and justifiably so. Forbes and CNBC regularly name ours as the top state for business. Our small-government approach extends opportunity even to the least fortunate: A 2014 study by economists at Harvard and UC-Berkeley found that Salt Lake City has the highest rate of upward income mobility in the nation. This led a Bloomberg columnist to investigate “how Utah keeps the American Dream alive.”
Despite our achievements, however, there remains one area where we can do even better: cutting government waste.
Americans for Prosperity-Utah believes taxpayers should be informed about how the government spends our hard-earned money. So, we delved through the latest state budget to find some of the most egregious examples of waste and compiled them in our new 2017 Utah Waste Book.
What we found was nearly $50 million squandered on pet projects, special interest handouts and other boondoggles.

Given all the waste on the books, you may be surprised to learn that some believe we are not taxed enough. A 2018 ballot initiative by a group of wealthy business owners in Utah would raise both the personal income tax and the sales tax by about 10 percent each, phased in over three years. By 2021, the average Utah household would face $416 in additional taxes.
The objective is to raise $700 million for public schools, but it’s not clear how that will improve student performance. U.S. News & World Report ranks Utah higher than both New York and Alaska in education, even though the latter two states spend over three times more per public school pupil, according to the most recent census data.
While the benefits of this tax are uncertain, the downsides are not. A tax hike would blow a hole in Utah’s business-friendly reputation, driving away investment and jobs. And ordinary Utahns would be left with less of their income to spend on pricier necessities.


The instructional triangle
Deseret News letter from Stanley Ivie

Metaphor is the language of the gods. It is the “sine qua non” of intellectual life. Metaphor is the connecting link between the physiological brain and the conscious mind. To think is to think metaphorically. The mind is not a passive sponge soaking up sense data; it is an active, growing architectural structure for organizing experiences. The mind is always something more than we picture it to be. All of our metaphors – including that of a computer – fall short of capturing its powers. The mind is, in many ways, like a magician who always has an extra trick up his sleeve.
All the educational reforms of the past century have failed because they were based on faulty, unbalanced metaphors.

Health and education are what make America great
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Rose Bauman

U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, illegals who have made their home here, good, hard-working people who have settled here due to failure of the INS to do its job. They are now a part of American life. We dropped the ball; they should not have to pay the price.
I believe in capitalism, historically; there has been no better alternative. Want a TV, a car, a house, clothing. You can have it if you can afford it. Buy it new, buy it second hand. Food, eat out, cook your own, get help through local charities. Food is available to all who live here, we are most fortunate.
However, exceptions exist where private enterprise can threaten the well-being of all Americans, now and into the future: health care and education.

Do we owe it to everyone to provide an education? The cost of a university education has become so prohibitive that only the well to do and very low income earners who can qualify for subsidies can enter. There is a huge middle earnings range of students with tremendous potential who will never be able to afford a university education. What a loss to our country. Affordable credentialed trade schools need to be available to those who choose this path. Making advanced education available will have positive effects on our economy, our health and well-being, our social interactions.


Why Americans Think So Poorly of the Country’s Schools
Are public schools generally meeting Americans’ expectations? Or are they teetering on the brink of failure?
Atlantic commentary by JACK SCHNEIDER, assistant professor of education at the College of the Holy Cross

Each year, parents responding to the Phi Delta Kappan poll report high levels of satisfaction with their kids’ education. Asked to assign letter grades to their children’s schools, the vast majority of parents-generally around 70 percent-issue As and Bs. If those ratings were compiled the way a student’s grade point average is calculated, the public schools would collectively get a B.
When asked to rate the nation’s schools, however, respondents are far less sanguine. Reflecting on public schools in general, a similar share of respondents-roughly 70 percent-confer a C or D. Again calculated as a GPA, America’s schools get a C or C-.
So which is it? Are public schools generally meeting Americans’ expectations? Or are they teetering on the brink of failure?
This may seem like an academic exercise. After all, school quality is what it is, regardless of perception. But, as it turns out, this gap in perceptions is a matter of tremendous importance.
Consider the impact on policy. If the nation’s schools are generally doing well, it doesn’t make much sense to disrupt them. But if they are in a state of decline, disruption takes on an entirely new meaning. Seizing on the presumed failures of the education system, reform advocates have pushed hard for contentious policies-expansion of charter schools, for instance, or the use of value-added measures of teacher effectiveness-that might have less traction in a more positive policy climate.
Perception also shapes the decisions people make about where to enroll their children. If the quality of public education is generally poor, then parents must compete for a small number of adequate schools-a competition that will be won by those with the greatest access to resources. As research reveals, residential segregation by income has increased in the past 20 years-driven chiefly families with children seeking home in “good” school districts. If the average public school is of C or C- quality, this is rational behavior. But if most schools are good, segregation is being exacerbated by misperception.
So which picture is right?

A copy of the poll (PDK)


New report examines the educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race and ethnicity
National Center for Education Statistics analysis

The number of students finishing high school has increased over time for students in all racial/ethnic groups. However, the rate of progress has varied and racial/ethnic gaps persist.
The National Center for Education Statistics released a new report today (July 18) entitled Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups, 2017. This report provides details on the educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race and ethnicity. The report presents 28 indicators on topics ranging from prekindergarten through postsecondary education, as well as labor force outcomes.
The new report shows that public schools are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Between fall 2003 and fall 2013, the percentage of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools decreased for students who were White (from 59 to 50 percent) and Black (from 17 to 16 percent). In contrast, the percentage increased for students who were Hispanic (from 19 to 25 percent) and Asian/ Pacific Islander (from 4 to 5 percent) during the same time period.
Other key findings include:
* In 2014, the percentage of children under age 18 living in poverty based on the official poverty measure was highest for Black children (37 percent), followed by Hispanic children (31 percent), and White and Asian children (12 percent each);
* In 2014, about 4.7 million public school students participated in English language learner (ELL) programs. Hispanic students made up the majority of this group (78 percent), with around 3.6 million participating in ELL programs;
* On the NAEP reading assessment, the White-Black gap in scale scores narrowed in Grade 4 from 32 points in 1992 to 26 points in 2015, while the White-Hispanic gap (24 points) was not measurably different from 1992. In grade 8 reading, the White-Hispanic gap narrowed from 26 points in 1992 to 21 points in 2015, while the White-Black gap (26 points) was not measurably different from 1992;
* From 1990 to 2015, the high school status completion rate for 18- to 24-year-olds increased from 59 percent to 88 percent for Hispanic students, from 83 percent to 92 percent for Black students; and from 90 percent to 95 percent for White students. Despite this progress, the completion rates for Hispanic and Black 18- to 24-year-olds remained lower than the White rate in 2015;
* The number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than doubled between 2003-04 and 2013-14. During the same period, the number of degrees awarded also increased for Black (by 46 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (by 43 percent), and White (by 19 percent) students; and
* In 2014, among those who had not completed high school, higher percentages of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native adults (both 22 percent) were unemployed compared to White (13 percent), Hispanic (8 percent), and Asian (7 percent) adults.

Can Digital Equity Close the Achievement Gap?
Education Week commentary by Matthew Lynch, owner of Lynch Consulting Group

Closing the achievement gap has been a focus of those looking to improve education for decades. The term “achievement gap” refers to the gap between the test scores of low-income students (or students of color) and their wealthier (or white) peers. There are dozens of theories on why this gap continues to exist and what we can do to bring low-income students’ achievement levels up. In recent years, one idea has come to light that has promise–using digital equity to close the achievement gap.
Digital equity has also been the focus of education advocates for some years now. As digital technology becomes an integral part of our world and our schools, a gap has emerged in access to technology. Students from wealthier backgrounds tend to have greater access to the internet and digital technology when compared to their peers who come from poverty. This puts wealthier students ahead and adds another barrier for schools with a high poverty rate to overcome.
Some education experts now say that digital equity could help to provide a level playing field for all students. If all students have access to the same technology, it could help to close the achievement gap. It has already been established that students without access to technology have trouble completing homework assignments. While more than half of teachers assign homework that requires internet access, there are millions of children who live in homes where they can’t get online.
In theory, closing this digital divide could have tremendous effects for low-income students. Giving students from poverty access to technology certainly improves outcomes. Researchers at Stanford have found that, when used correctly, technology does indeed help boost test scores for low-income students.
However, digital equity is not a magic fix for closing the achievement gap. The achievement gap existed long before the invention of the internet. Creating true equality for all students is far more complex than simply giving them all laptops. Further studies have shown that even when students in high-poverty schools have greater access to technology than their peers in low-poverty schools, their test scores remain lower.

How Universal College Admission Tests Help Low-Income Students
New York Times commentary by SUSAN DYNARSKI, professor of education, public policy and economics at the University of Michigan

There is widespread concern about over-testing in schools. Yet we need all students to take the right tests if low-income and minority children are to have a good shot at a quality college education.
The two standard college admission tests – the SAT and the ACT – could be administered universally and free of charge to students. That would reduce the administrative barriers to applying to college, help identify talented disadvantaged children, and increase the likelihood that they will attend a college that matches their skills.
A child born into a high-income family is six times as likely to earn a college degree as one who is poor, research that I have participated in shows. This gap is largely rooted in disparities in achievement that appear as early as preschool. But even for students who perform well in high school, parents’ income strongly predicts whether they will attend and complete college

The Trouble With Trade School
New York Times commentary by columnist David Leonhardt

Across the political spectrum, just about everyone seems to be in favor of expanding vocational education.
The idea makes a lot of sense, too. A four-year college degree should not be the only path to the middle class. Students should also be able to learn technical skills that lead to good-paying, blue-collar jobs.
But I’m worried that the idea of vocational education has become so popular – backed by Presidents Trump and Obama – that its advocates have not thought through the potential downsides.
Those downsides appear to be significant, according to new research by a group of professors in the United States, Germany and China.
Vocational education, done right, helps workers find jobs when they are young. But as they age – and job requirements change – workers are often not well prepared for the changes, according to the study, published in The Journal of Human Resources. Rather than retraining workers, many companies decide to let them go and hire other workers.
Most strikingly, the research found that people who received a broad, general education earned more over their lifetimes than otherwise similar people (that is, with similar test scores and years of schooling) who had attended vocational programs. Notably, the vocational graduates in most countries were more likely to be unemployed while older



States Bristle as DeVos Ed. Dept. Critiques Their ESSA Plans
Education Week

The back and forth between states and Washington over the Every Student Succeeds Act has become more complicated than many had expected.
Although U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos took office in February pledging to let states seize control of key education policy decisions under the new federal K-12 law, her department’s responses to states’ ESSA plans have surprised-and in some cases irritated-state leaders and others.
The U.S. Department of Education has expressed skepticism about elements of those plans, from the ambitiousness of long-term academic goals to the use of Advanced Placement exams in state accountability systems.
Last month, the Council of Chief State School Officers said the first set of feedback to three states was “too prescriptive in certain areas and goes beyond the intent of the law.” Early indications are that states won’t necessarily make sweeping changes just to please DeVos’ team.
And in an interview, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., one of ESSA’s architects, said the feedback letters seem to fly in the face of the law’s intention that the states-not the federal government-should be calling the shots when it comes to the details of school accountability.
“I want to nip in the bud the idea that somehow it’s business as usual in Washington,” Alexander said.


Trump Administration Abruptly Cuts Off Teen Pregnancy Prevention Funding
Education Week

The Trump administration has cut off grants that fund teen pregnancy prevention programs and research their effectiveness, Reveal reports.
Leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services, who have publicly favored an abstinence-based approach to sex education, sent letters to recipients to inform them of their decision to end funding early on the five-year grants, which go to 81 organizations around the country, according to the reports.
Those letters, which looked like routine annual grant renewal letters, said funding for the projects would end in 2018, not 2020 as originally planned. And a grant for a group of five organizations that were one year into their reseach was ended immediately, the report says.
Congress had approved $101 million for the third year of the grants in May, Reveal reports, but the president’s budget proposal did not call for any funding of the program in fiscal year 2018.


Illinois governor to block Chicago schools’ funding boost

CHICAGO – Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said on Monday he intends to block money earmarked for Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) teacher pensions under recent legislation because he feels it is too much of a “bailout” for a badly managed system.
The bill, which revamps Illinois’ school funding system, was passed in May by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, which has yet to send it to the Republican governor for approval.
Rauner said he intends to use his veto to amend parts of the bill that address CPS pensions. That would result in a cut of nearly half of a $293 million funding boost for state aid and pensions CPS would receive in the legislation, freeing up $145 million for other school districts, according to funding data posted on Rauner’s website.
“The point of this school reform bill is to help low-income students across the state, including those in Chicago, get the education they deserve – not to bailout CPS’ mismanaged teacher pension system,” Rauner said in a statement.
Escalating pension payments have led to drained reserves, debt dependency and junk bond ratings for CPS, the nation’s third-largest public school system. (Chicago Tribune) (AP)


Texas business leaders call on lawmakers to drop ‘bathroom bill’

AUSTIN, Texas – A group of Texas business leaders urged state lawmakers on Monday to abandon plans to pass a bill to restrict bathroom access for transgender people, calling such a measure bad for the economy.
The Republican-dominated legislature begins a 30-day special session on Tuesday with 20 items on the agenda, including one of the “bathroom bills” that have been a flashpoint in U.S. culture wars.
Supporter of the legislation have said it is a common-sense measure that protects public safety. Critics call it discriminatory.
Texas, the most powerful Republican-controlled state, could lose about $5.6 billion through 2026 and businesses could find it difficult to recruit top talent if such a measure is enacted, according to the state’s leading employer organization.
“The distraction of a bathroom bill pulls us away from being competitive as a state,” Jeff Moseley, chief executive of the Texas Association of Business, told a rally outside the Capitol.


Advocacy groups urge states to protect transgender students
Associated Press

WASHINGTON- Dozens of advocacy groups are urging state education officials around the country to protect transgender students after the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era guidance on school bathroom use.
In a letter sent Tuesday, the nation’s leading civils rights organizations say schools must allow students to access restrooms in line with their stated gender identity, as the guidance had called for.
The Trump administration withdrew the guidance in February, saying it was a matter for the states, not the federal government, to decide. The decision caused an outcry among LGBT activists.
The groups warned that denying students access to the bathrooms of their choice would violate federal law and the Constitution. As a result, schools “will continue to be subjected to lawsuits,” the letter says.

A copy of the letter (Public Justice)


Few Teachers of the Year Support School Vouchers
Education Week

Washington — About 85 percent of renowned teachers disagree that the federal government should provide greater school choice through vouchers, a new survey finds-and almost all of the surveyed teachers believe that charter schools and private schools that receive federal funds should be subject to the same accountability measures as public schools.
The survey, unveiled at the National Network of State Teachers of the Year’s annual conference here, focused on four areas: educational equity, teacher leadership, social and emotional learning, and vouchers and school funding.
In all, 274 members completed the survey-only about 10 percent of the number of NNSTOY newsletter subscribers, but about 100 more people than last year took this year’s survey, said Justin Minkel, the chairman of the NNSTOY government affairs committee. (Minkel is also a columnist for Education Week Teacher.) This is the second federal policy survey NNSTOY has conducted, and the people who chose to respond to the survey might have strong opinions. The results are not scientific, and should be interpreted with caution.


U.S. parents spending less on college tuition, study finds

NEW YORK – Despite a record-high U.S. stock market and a positive economic outlook, U.S. parents spent less on college tuition during the 2016-17 school year, according to Sallie Mae’s 10th annual “How America Pays for College” report.
Out-of-pocket spending by parents fell to 23 percent from 29 percent of the average amount the typical family pays for college, according to a survey released Monday. That translates to about $5,527 out of the average $23,757 yearly tab.
That’s the lowest dollar amount spent by parents since 2009, as well as the smallest percentage of the total tuition spent since the study started.
Much of the difference was made up by a big jump in student borrowing to 19 percent of the total, from 13 percent.
Sallie Mae’s study does not directly address why parental spending fell, but there are several indicators. (CSM)

A copy of the report (Sallie Mae)


Why Aren’t Students Showing Up For College?
NPR Hidden Brain

Every year, many students who have overcome daunting obstacles in high school receive good news – they’ve been accepted to college.
These kids represent a success story: through hard work and determination, they’ve made into college, and perhaps even on to a better life.
Except it doesn’t always work out that way.
“The rate with which kids who are college-intending do not actually get to college in the fall is surprisingly high,” says Lindsay Page, an education researcher at Harvard. “In one sample that we looked at in the Boston area, we find that upwards of 20% of kids who at the time of high school graduation say that they’re continuing on to college – about 20% of those kids don’t actually show up in the fall.”
Researchers call this phenomenon “summer melt” – and for universities, it has long been a puzzling problem. Because these are the kids who made it: they’ve taken the SATs, been accepted to a college of their choice, applied for and received financial aid. Why wouldn’t they show up for college on day one? (audio)


High Court Justice Spotlights Civics Education at 9th Circuit Conference
Education Week

San Francisco — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil M. Gorsuch on Monday joined the list of his colleagues-both current and retired justices-who have taken up the cause of improving civics education.
The United States has “an amazing system of law, and I wish more kids were able to see that we are able to resolve our social disputes in a peaceful way,” the newest member of the court said during an extended forum on civics education at a meeting here of judges and lawyers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
The 9th Circuit covers nine western states-Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The “circuit justice” for the court-the member of the Supreme Court who handles emergency motions from that circuit and typically addresses the annual circuit conference-is Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.
The civics program for this year’s program was designed around Kennedy’s interest in the subject. He was going to speak at the civics education portion of the program, greet winners of a student essay contest, and discuss the civics implications of the hit musical “Hamilton” with the show’s director and producer.
But sometime earlier this month, while Kennedy and his wife, Mary, were in Salzburg, Austria, where the justice has long had a summer teaching gig, Mary Kennedy fell and broke her hip. Kennedy had to cancel his long-planned appearance at the 9th Circuit to help her recuperate.
Gorsuch, a former law clerk for Kennedy who joined the high court in April, agreed to be a last-minute substitute at the civics panel and some other conference events.

The 9th Circuit conference’s civics discussion included presentations by judges from within the circuit and from elsewhere around the country about novel methods to engage young people to learn about the court system. These include websites, students’ visits to courtrooms, judges’ visits to classrooms, and even what one judge called a “court camp,” which is really a civics, law, and leadership summer camp coming up at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.


Japan to set aside $36 billion for education, growth steps in FY2018 budget

TOKYO – Japan will set aside roughly 4 trillion yen ($35.6 billion) in the next fiscal year’s state budget for measures that focus on education as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s strategy to spur growth, government sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
While setting aside money to develop Japan’s growth strategy, the government will curb spending in other areas such as public works by 10 percent from this fiscal year, the sources said on condition of anonymity as the plan has not been finalised.
The 4 trillion yen pool will be spent on steps that include the nurturing of talented people, making education free of charge and boosting service-sector productivity, by allocating funds saved by cutting spending elsewhere, the sources said.


Turkey rolls out new school curriculum – without Darwin

ANKARA – Turkey announced a new school curriculum on Tuesday that excluded Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, feeding opposition fears President Tayyip Erdogan is subverting the republic’s secular foundations.
The chairman of a teachers’ union described the changes as a huge step in the wrong direction for Turkey’s schools and an attempt to avoid raising “generations who ask questions”.
Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz said the main elements of evolution already underpinned the science curriculum, but there would be no mention of Darwin’s landmark theory until university.
“Because it is above the students’ level and not directly related, the theory of evolution is not part” of the school curriculum, Yilmaz told a news conference.
Opposition Republican People’s Party lawmaker Mustafa Balbay said any suggestion the theory was beyond their understanding was an insult to high school students.



UEN News

July 19:

Utah State Charter School Board hearing and meeting
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

July 25:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

July 26:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol

August 3:

Utah State Board of Education committee meetings
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

August 4:

Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

August 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

August 23:

Education Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol

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