Education News Roundup: Aug. 21, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

School districts begin looking at middle school course options.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDo (OSE)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aDw (LHJ)

KSL finds the teacher shortage has eased in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDI (KSL)

Tribune updates us on the Dreamers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD1 (SLT)

New Gallup poll finds most Americans are satisfied with their child’s education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aE1 (Gallup)

A different poll finds support for charter schools has dropped.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCY (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aE0 (CSM)
or a copy of the poll
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCZ (Education Next)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

N. Utah districts considering future of middle school course requirements

Few teacher vacancies at Wasatch Front schools after critical teacher shortage

‘Step in the right direction’: How salary arms race affects Utah’s teachers

Dreamers celebrate 5 years of DACA program as its fate looms

State, school districts partner to test for lead in drinking water

How Our Schools Now Would Affect U Students

As youth go back to school, new laws go into effect for youth justice system

Students at Green Canyon ready to forge new traditions

Gov. Herbert hears from new teachers at Bridger Elementary

Closed charter school for girls will get its day before the state school board
Education • The panel is slated to hear Kairos Academy’s appeal on Aug. 29.

DaVinci Academy buys, renovates old Ogden Prep middle school building

South Campus building to become preschool

DaVinci Academy gets solar panels with help from Rocky Mountain Power grant

Three charter schools looking to open within Davis, Weber districts

As first day of school approaches, clock’s ticking on campus preparations

Ogden schools announce preliminary graduation rate increase of 7 percentage points

Elementary kids used to get a hot lunch in Carbon County district whether they paid or not — now that has to change
Families owe nearly $47k; kids whose parents are running a deficit will get cheese sandwich, fruit, vegetables and milk instead of a hot lunch.

Granite School District extends free lunches to more families
Schools • Budget surplus allows district to waive charges for nearly 6,000 students already paying reduced prices.

Study: Parents fearful of school shootings know little about safety measures being taken

Park City superintendent unwittingly becomes ‘public voice’ of opioid crisis

Utah’s STEM Action Center rolls out its new mobile classroom
Retrofitted bus will give students hands-on experience with science, technology, engineering and mathematics — as part of state promotion of core training.

UVU, Provo schools preparing for students to view solar eclipse

Graduate high school with cash in your pocket

Ziegfeld Arts Academy brings homeschooled kids together with fine arts courses

Teacher bride gets ‘wedding gift’ donations to help homeless students

Web series filming at Ogden High School for several weeks

Utah teen pleads guilty to causing prom night crash that killed two classmates
He gets jail and probation for the Moab-area crash.

Fatal crosswalk site in Syracuse schools gets new crossing signal

Keeping kids safe when ‘school zones’ become ‘danger zones’

5 school bus safety tips for students

Lehi woman charged with picking up child without parents’ permission

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

Utah students and teachers need real middle school health, PE and art

Utahns can’t afford $700 million tax hike

A correction on school grade info

In education, leave politics at home

How to create an equitable education for both white and minority students

The attack dogs are coming out again to squelch the Our Schools Now effort

Teach handwriting

DeVos has the right idea for sparking America’s next education revolution

Sacrificing educators’ consciences to raise high school graduation rates

Abstinence-only education doesn’t work. We’re still funding it.
In theory, it’s fine. In practice, it usually fails.

NATION

Americans’ Satisfaction With Schools Edges Up From 2016
79% are satisfied with the state of their own child’s education

Ed. Dept. Steps Up Pace of States’ ESSA Plan Reviews

What’s in a name? Virginia school enters Confederate symbols battle

Poll: Support for charters drops markedly over past year

The newest advantage of being rich in America? Higher grades
Escalating grade inflation at wealthy high schools is another blow to poor kids

Do Laptops Help Learning? A Look At The Only Statewide School Laptop Program

‘Redshirt’ Your Kids? Study Adds Fuel to a Complicated Debate

 

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UTAH NEWS
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N. Utah districts considering future of middle school course requirements

Seventh and eighth grade students are no longer required to take physical education, health or art classes thanks to a recent Utah State Board of Education policy change.
Area school districts are still deciding what this means for them.
At an Aug. 4 meeting, the state board voted 9-6 to get rid of the three core requirements. The Deseret News reported board members in support of the change cited more local control while those opposed said the policy hadn’t been discussed enough to change.
Math, science, language arts, U.S. History and Utah history will remain junior high core requirements and according to the new policy, districts and charter schools must offer, but not require, at least two arts courses, physical education, health education, college and career awareness and, as of the 2018-19 school year, digital literacy and at least one world language.
The policy change also eliminated language holding a charter school or school district’s board responsible for a student’s “mastery” of core subjects.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDo (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDw (LHJ)

 

Few teacher vacancies at Wasatch Front schools after critical teacher shortage

SALT LAKE CITY — Kids around the Wasatch Front get to go back to school with most teacher posts at schools filled. But a critical teacher shortage had many school districts concerned.
542 newly hired teachers attended Alpine District’s orientation recently, and many know they are in high demand.
“I’ve felt very needed in a lot of places,” said first-year teacher Katherine Lloyd.
That’s an understatement.
Most districts along the Wasatch Front needed to hire hundreds of teachers as of last spring. But with a critical teacher shortage, the prospects looked bleak.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDI (KSL)

 

‘Step in the right direction’: How salary arms race affects Utah’s teachers

SALT LAKE CITY — Nancy Brich spent her first summer as a college graduate working part-time at a retail store, at a gym and as a tutor part-time
Anything to pay for rent and bills before she can officially start her career in the classroom when the recent Southern Utah University graduate begins teaching special education for a middle school within the Granite School District next week.
It’s an opportunity she’s excited for as the first step of her career swiftly approaches.
“My main motivation is what’s going to make me happy and feel like I’m making a difference, which is teaching within the special needs. … It’s about the passion and wanting to help make a better future for these kids,” Brich said, speaking of the field with passion as anyone who has discovered their life’s calling.
While the buzz is there, she said it’s clear there are concerns within the field and salary is among the top concerns plaguing Utah’s teachers. It’s also an issue that played out in a salary arms race throughout Utah’s more populated school districts as schools eyed to pay teachers more.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDK (KSL)

 

Dreamers celebrate 5 years of DACA program as its fate looms

Young, undocumented immigrants are finding it difficult to follow the advice of a new U.S. president, who recently told them to ”rest easy” because his administration is ”not after the dreamers.”
Utah is home to more than 10,500 undocumented immigrants who have attended school and legally held employment through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in the past five years.
While there is no major congressional move to end the program, 10 state attorneys general have threatened President Donald Trump with a lawsuit if he does not begin phasing it out by Sept. 5.
More recently, attorneys general in 19 states and the District of Columbia have written to the president, urging him to continue support of the program. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes did not join the aforementioned efforts of his colleagues on either side of the issue. His office did not respond to a request for comment.
On Tuesday — the program’s anniversary — Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski joined more than 100 politicians nationwide in asking Trump to continue the program for undocumented immigrants brought to the country as young children, and often nicknamed “dreamers.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD1 (SLT)

 

State, school districts partner to test for lead in drinking water

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah drinking water regulators and school districts across the state are rolling out a voluntary initiative to test for lead in water delivery systems, with initial sampling showing some schools need to make upgrades or improvements.
The effort so far involves 399 samples collected by 10 school districts, with 3.5 percent of the samples indicating lead levels necessitating a fix — such as replacement of a faucet or piping.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD7 (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aD8 (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aD9 (KUTV)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDb (KUER)

 

How Our Schools Now Would Affect U Students

A proposed ballot initiative could bring $23,625,723 to the University of Utah at the cost of an increase in state taxes.
The Our Schools Now campaign would give a total of $700 million to Utah schools, 85 percent of which would go to primary and secondary schools, while the remaining 15 percent would be divvied out among postsecondary schools based on enrollment.
Of all higher education institutions in Utah, the U has the third highest number of students — 31,551 last academic year. In 2018, the U is slated to receive $593,206,400 from the state. At this size, if Our Schools Now succeeds, the U would receive roughly an additional $750 per pupil. Utah’s population is expected to double before 2060. The rapid growth in the state, according to Our Schools Now campaign manager Austin Cox, also means ballooning enrollment at colleges and universities. Funding from Our Schools Now is contingent on schools reaching goals to improve academic success. Cox believes that higher education institutions like the U need more funds to ensure education quality.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aE3 (Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

As first day of school approaches, clock’s ticking on campus preparations

SALT LAKE CITY — Just as students and teachers count down the days until summer vacation, school district employees who clean schools, conduct maintenance and keep the grounds tidy are hard at work to meet a different deadline: the start of the academic year.
The marathon of preparing schools — which includes the icky job of scraping chewing gum from school desks and chairs, refinishing gym floors, manicuring thousands of acres of play fields, and major and minor construction projects — must be completed before school starts next week.
“There’s this eight-week window where you’re trying to pack all the stuff in, and it gets pretty daunting,” said Paul Bergera, Jordan School District staff assistant for auxiliary services.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCT (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDq (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDA (SGS)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDL (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDE (KUTV)

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

 

Students at Green Canyon ready to forge new traditions

NORTH LOGAN — A week before school starts they call themselves the Sky Canyon Wolfcats, but students at the two north-end high schools in Cache County School District might have a different view of their own identities by the end of the year.
The same split occurred in the south-end last year. In a growing school district in a growing valley, Mountain Crest High School split its student population with the brand new Ridgeline High School. Now, on the north end, the Sky View Bobcats are splitting to create the Green Canyon Wolves. All of the high schools also changed their configuration to add ninth grade.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDx (LHJ)

 

Gov. Herbert hears from new teachers at Bridger Elementary

Gov. Gary Herbert kicked off a Q&A with new teachers at Bridger Elementary on Tuesday by posing a question of his own: Why did you decide to become a teacher?
Among other education-related stops in Logan, Herbert surprised new teachers as they ate lunch during a two-day training workshop. Some were fresh-faced college graduates ready to start a career, others had moved to Logan from other school districts, and some, like Rosa Nunez, decided to make a mid-life career change.
Herbert roamed the cafeteria and handed off the microphone to Nunez. She said she used to work as an administrative assistant at Adams Elementary, where she heard some stories that were positive and others that weren’t so happy. She said she finally decided she wanted to be in the classroom, where she can make a difference.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDy (LHJ)

Closed charter school for girls will get its day before the state school board
Education • The panel is slated to hear Kairos Academy’s appeal on Aug. 29.

A recently shut down charter school for young mothers and pregnant teens has a date with the Utah Board of Education to plead its case for continued operation.
The appeal hearing for Kairos Academy will be held at 9 a.m. on Aug. 29, according to Utah Board of Education spokeswoman Emilie Wheeler, who declined to comment further.
A panel of five school board members will participate in the hearing. Their recommendation to either reopen the charter school or maintain its forced closure will then be considered by the full 15-member state board, most likely during its Sept. 8 meeting.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD2 (SLT)

 

DaVinci Academy buys, renovates old Ogden Prep middle school building

OGDEN — DaVinci Academy of Science and the Arts is renovating and opening a new building to house elementary school students.
In May, DaVinci Academy purchased the vacant Ogden Preparatory Academy Middle School building at 215 22nd St. for $2.7 million.
Deb Neal, the school’s community outreach director, said $500,000 has gone into renovating the building and while they’re a little behind schedule, most of the changes are cosmetic — such as new carpet, repairing windows and adding shelving, sinks and water fountains in classrooms.
“One of the things we pride ourselves in is having a downtown presence,” she said. “Sure, it would have been a lot easier for me to go out and build a brand new building.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDp (OSE)

 

South Campus building to become preschool

The Logan High School renovation comes with a side effect that may benefit families with young children.
Students at South Campus, the alternative school, will be joining the Innovations program at the main campus this school year, leaving an empty building. Logan City School District Superintendent Frank Schofield said they have a successful preschool program and saw an opportunity to expand.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDz (LHJ)

 

DaVinci Academy gets solar panels with help from Rocky Mountain Power grant

OGDEN — The DaVinci Academy of Science and Arts is turning to solar power.
A $163,800 grant from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program helped the school install solar panels that will generate about 14 percent of the power the school uses annually.
Executive Administrator Fred Donaldson said the idea has been in the works for roughly four years. The school also put $5,000 into installing the panels.
“It’s going to be in the curriculum,” Donaldson said. “They’re going to learn about energy and saving energy, how alternative energy works and how Rocky Mountain Power does this.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDs (OSE)

 

Three charter schools looking to open within Davis, Weber districts

Two new charter schools are seeking to open within the boundaries of the Davis School District, as well as one in Weber School District boundaries.
The proposed charters will go before the State Charter School Board for approval at a meeting Friday, Aug. 11. Nine schools throughout Utah will presenting to the board.
The public charter schools would operate within the boundaries of existing public school districts but the districts won’t operate them.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDr (OSE)

 

As youth go back to school, new laws go into effect for youth justice system

Many youths across the state of Utah will be back in school next week. Several Utah non-profit organizations wish to remind these youth – and those who care for and about them – that positive changes have been made to Utah laws regarding the juvenile justice system.
These groups – which include Racially Just Utah, YWCA Utah and the Ogden Branch of the NAACP – have worked together to produce an informational brochure that outlines several of these important new developments. The brochure highlights many positive changes that were enacted with the passage of HB239 during the 2017 Utah Legislative Session, such as:

• New caps on fines and community service hours for youth sentenced for various offenses;

• New limits on the amount of time youth can be kept in juvenile detention or secure confinement; and

• More alternatives to court appearances and out-of-home placements.

http://gousoe.uen.org/aCQ (UP)

 

Ogden schools announce preliminary graduation rate increase of 7 percentage points

OGDEN — Preliminary numbers show the Ogden School District’s graduation rate is slated to increase by about 7 percentage points since 2016.
At a Board of Education meeting Thursday, Aug. 17, Superintendent Rich Nye said the graduation rate for 2017 — the most recently completed school year — will be almost 74 percent. In 2016, the district had the lowest graduation rate of any district in Utah with 67 percent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDl (OSE)

 

Elementary kids used to get a hot lunch in Carbon County district whether they paid or not — now that has to change
Families owe nearly $47k; kids whose parents are running a deficit will get cheese sandwich, fruit, vegetables and milk instead of a hot lunch.

For years, elementary students in Carbon School District were assured a hot meal regardless of whether their parents had remembered to pay for school lunches.
Beginning this fall, however, students in the rural Utah county who fall behind on payments will get a sack lunch instead.
“We literally have parents who have never paid for the students’ lunches the entire time they have attended elementary school,” Carbon School District child nutrition director Patti Rigby said in a statement. “This fall, there will be some surprised parents when we change things.”
The new policy doesn’t affect students who qualify and have applied for free meals, only those whose family incomes mean they should pay.
Forced to deal with nearly $47,000 in lunch fees owed by district parents, Rigby said students with unpaid balances will now receive a lunch that includes a 4-inch hoagie bun with 2 ounces of cheese, fruit, vegetables and milk.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD4 (SLT)

 

Granite School District extends free lunches to more families
Schools • Budget surplus allows district to waive charges for nearly 6,000 students already paying reduced prices.

Low-income children in Granite School District who would otherwise pay a reduced cost for school lunches will be able to eat for free during the upcoming school year.
Rich Prall, Granite’s food service director, said Tuesday that leftover funds in the district’s nutrition budget have allowed the district to waive lunch and breakfast fees for families already qualifying for reduced meal prices, expanding the pool of students eligible for free meals by roughly 6,000.
The policy move brings the total number of Granite students getting free lunch to more than 36,000, or nearly 53 percent of the student body.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD5 (SLT)

 

Study: Parents fearful of school shootings know little about safety measures being taken

SALT LAKE CITY — A third of parents think a shooting incident is likely to occur at a local high school in the next three years, but researchers say that parents don’t know much about which prevention tools are effective, and they don’t seek much contact with schools about the issue.
Those key findings of a study, “Parents’ Expectations of High Schools in Firearm Violence Prevention,” were published in a recent issue of the Journal of Community Health.
Despite the fears, researchers and others emphasize that schools are among the safest places for children to be. Of 2,787 gun-related deaths in 2015 among youths 19 and younger, fewer than 5 percent were on school grounds, including both homicides and suicides. They say being prepared and knowing what to do in a dangerous situation is a good thing, but scaring children or letting fear drive policy is not.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD6 (DN)

 

Park City superintendent unwittingly becomes ‘public voice’ of opioid crisis

PARK CITY — After two 13-year-old Treasure Mountain Junior High students died last fall after overdosing on a synthetic opioid known as pink, Park City School District Superintendent Ember Conley has become “a public voice on an issue I never wanted to address.”
Conley wrote those words in the August cover story of School Administrator, a monthly magazine delivered to public school superintendents nationwide.
The article largely describes the school district’s response to the tragedy, which included activating crisis plans to hosting community events where students, staff and community members came together to grieve, learn and move forward together.
But the article also reveals a behind-the-scenes look how the school district, in concert with the larger community, addressed the tragic loss of two young boys and its overarching hope “to make a difference for more children by coming together as a community,” Conley wrote.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDd (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDe (School Administrator)

 

Utah’s STEM Action Center rolls out its new mobile classroom
Retrofitted bus will give students hands-on experience with science, technology, engineering and mathematics — as part of state promotion of core training.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert participated Wednesday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Utah STEM Bus, a mobile classroom for science, technology, engineering and math education.
The bus, developed by Utah’s STEM Action Center, is intended to bring hands-on learning experiences to students during the 2017-2018 school year.
The donated Utah Transit Authority bus has been remodeled and promotes STEM concepts with interactive displays on video game design, computer programming, robotics, spacial math and structural engineering.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD3 (SLT)

 

UVU, Provo schools preparing for students to view solar eclipse

Provo City School District sent an email to employees about the eclipse that was written based on the guidance from state risk management. The email tells employees that it is important to warn and educate students about the dangers that come with directly looking at the sun, which can lead to serious eye injuries.
Schools taking classes outside for the eclipse have to provide eyewear to safely view it. Because of this, schools have been recommended against inviting families or others to participate in viewing the eclipse.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDu (PDH)

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

 

Graduate high school with cash in your pocket

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The start of a new school year can be stressful. But a group of entering freshmen at Hillcrest High will start school this week confident and already familiar with their teachers and with some cash in their pockets. Hillcrest Assistant Principal Rachel Hill joined Good Morning Utah with Brian Carlson to tell us about this innovative program.
It’s a summer school program for entering freshmen, but it’s not your regular summer school. It’s far more rigorous, and more successful – it’s helped Hillcrest realize a 10 percent gain in the number of ninth-graders on track to graduate – and completing the program earns students up to $400 in cash.
The program, which is made possible through funding from the United Way of Salt Lake, has earned Canyons District national recognition and is now being implemented at Jordan High School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDF (KTVX)

 

Ziegfeld Arts Academy brings homeschooled kids together with fine arts courses

OGDEN — Ziegfeld Arts Academy is giving homeschooled students a place to come together and learn about theater and the arts.
Youth Theater Director Kristin Parry said the program aims to expose homeschooled children to the arts and was launched during the second semester of the 2016-17 school year, drawing 28 students. This fall, 32 are already enrolled.
“I’ve really seen kids come out of their shell,” Parry said.
The home school students attend classes once a week and have several to choose from including dance, improv, photography and storytelling.
Josh Robinson teaches dance and dance history and said homeschooled children sometimes have different coping mechanisms than children in the public school system.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDk (OSE)

 

Teacher bride gets ‘wedding gift’ donations to help homeless students

WEST JORDAN — High school teacher Rickee Stewart is getting married next month. But the wedding gifts on her registry aren’t dishes or glasses.
“I registered for tennis shoes and Converse and backpacks and winter coats for the homeless kids at our school,” she said.
Stewart was shocked to learn about more than 100 homeless students at Copper Hills High School when the school set up a food pantry.
“One of my students walked up very quietly and said, ‘So, my mom wants to know how I can actually get some of that food,’ Stewart said as her voice cracked. “It’s very real.”
So Stewart sent out wedding invitations with an insert offering guests the option, in lieu of gifts, to donate to her homeless student project.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCV (KSL)

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

 

Web series filming at Ogden High School for several weeks

OGDEN — A web series is being filmed at Ogden High School through September.
Ogden School District spokesman Jer Bates said “Youth and Consequences” will be filmed at the school during the coming weeks.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDm (OSE)

 

Utah teen pleads guilty to causing prom night crash that killed two classmates
He gets jail and probation for the Moab-area crash.

A Moab teen whose reckless driving caused the death of two of his peers will face one year of detention in San Juan County jail and three years of probation, a 7th District judge ruled Monday.
During his initial appearance in adult court, Gage Colton Moore pleaded guilty to four charges — two second-degree felony counts of automobile homicide and criminal negligence of DUI alcohol/drugs, and two counts of reckless endangerment, both class A misdemeanors.
In addition to his jail sentence, Moore’s probation restricts him from consuming alcohol or controlled substances; it also includes curfews and possible GPS monitoring. Moore was ordered to pay restitution to the victims’ families in an amount that will be determined later.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDP (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDR (Moab Times-Independent)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDS (Moab Sun News)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDT (MUR)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aDQ (KUTV)

 

Fatal crosswalk site in Syracuse schools gets new crossing signal

SYRACUSE — A crosswalk on 2000 West in Syracuse — deemed Kota’s Crossing for the teenager who died there in April — now has a crossing signal with flashing lights.
Dakota Kilburn, a ninth-grader at Syracuse Junior High School, was hit by two vehicles while using the crosswalk near his school April 17. He died from his injuries the next morning.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDn (OSE)

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

 

Keeping kids safe when ‘school zones’ become ‘danger zones’

ST. GEORGE — More than 850,000 school-age children live in Utah, and police are reminding motorists to slow down and take it easy in school zones near crosswalks and school bus stops in an effort to keep students safe as the school year begins.
Many drivers found themselves maneuvering around school zones this week as the hectic “back to school” season was ushered in across Washington County, with many children walking, biking or catching a bus.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDD (SGN)

 

5 school bus safety tips for students

WEST JORDAN, Utah – Students and parents gathered for a special school bus training and tour, Wednesday, where they learned rules for staying safe.
The new school year is right around the corner, and that means parents will soon have to turn over their kids to total strangers — and trust those strangers to drive safely. But as families who showed up at the West Jordan Library learned, school bus drivers are not the only ones responsible for a safe arrival.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDG (KTVX)

 

Lehi woman charged with picking up child without parents’ permission

LEHI — A Lehi woman is facing a criminal charge of unlawfully detaining other people’s children.
Christy McCoy, 33, was charged last week in Lehi Justice Court with unlawful detention of a minor, a class B misdemeanor. In April, police say McCoy picked up at least one child from a middle school without permission from that child’s parents.
The principal at Willow Creek Middle School reported to police that McCoy “was checking students out of school and taking them for rides in her car and also taking them home with her to eat lunch,” according to a search warrant affidavit filed in 4th District Court in May.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDc (DN)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

The Standard-Examiner Editorial Board hashes out the positions we take on the Opinion page. Here’s what members recommended last week for praise and criticism.
THUMBS DOWN: to the Utah Board of Education for eliminating arts, physical education and health classes as core requirements for middle school students.
There is research linking skill in music to skill in math.
Studies have shown there appears to be a positive correlation between physical activity and positive brain development.
Colleges look for well-rounded applications — ones who’ve participated in the arts and can demonstrate the ability to seek and contemplate broad, deep and cultural influencers.
And the BOE is pulling the rug out from under students’ feet by sending the message that these classes are not important.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDt

 

Utah students and teachers need real middle school health, PE and art
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Tim Pettus, Elementary Physical Education Teacher at The Waterford School

During an interview on KSL radio August 8, Utah State Board of Education member Linda Hansen stated, “instead of having a separate class for PE, they may integrate health / PE type issues into other classes that they have.”
Is Hansen implying that overworked classroom teachers will happily take on more work and teach a subject they did not study in college, are not qualified to teach, and most likely don’t want to teach?
The high teacher burnout rate in Utah has been well documented recently. A few districts are giving substantial raises, a good first step to reverse the burnout trend, but let’s also focus on teacher workload. The math, science, and English teachers are busy enough correcting papers and planning lessons. They don’t need a health, PE, or art lesson added to their already overloaded plate.
Hansen says she spoke with many charter and public schools in her district that were in favor of the new rule change. Did she speak with administrators AND teachers? I fear this rule change is an easy opportunity for schools to cut certified physical education, health, and art teachers and replace them with non-certified, low paying, hourly rate employees — if they are replaced at all.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCR

 

Utahns can’t afford $700 million tax hike
Deseret News op-ed by Evelyn Everton, Utah state director of Americans for Prosperity

The Utah Legislature has allocated $1.2 billion in additional funds to education over the last three years, including roughly $230 million in this year’s budget. But even that is not enough for “Our Schools Now,” a group of Utahns who want to spend hundreds of millions more by raising taxes on working families.
Our Schools Now is beginning to collect signatures for a 2018 ballot initiative to raise the personal income tax and the sales tax by about 9 percent each in 2019. The initiative’s bungled rollout resulted in sparsely attended meetings and an embarrassing report from the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget estimating the tax would cost $165 million more than expected. The report sent Our Schools Now scrambling to tweak the language of their proposal, but the tax will still cost Utahns a whopping $700 million per year.
A tax hike of this magnitude is unnecessary and would undermine the pro-growth reforms that have helped Utah prosper over the last decade. And there’s no real evidence it would do anything to improve K-12 education in Utah, already among the best in the nation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDg

In education, leave politics at home
(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Brooke Sullivan, Washington County Republican Party

Fall is around the corner and students in Washington County have already started another year of learning.
Many issues related to education go beyond political party lines, recognized by leaders of both major parties. The basics of a quality education begin before students walk through the front door. Civic-minded citizens, including parents of K-12 students, are the ground level source of a quality education by preparing their children with values and characteristics such as integrity, confidence, respect, responsibility, discipline and good manners.
The Utah Republican platform agrees with this principle stating that, “parents have the primary right and responsibility to educate their children …” Administrators and educators have a responsibility to arrive at the classroom prepared with their own schooling and certifications to provide the best possible academic education to young eager students. A lack of fundamental education and life skills may distract or hinder the learning process in the classroom.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDB

 

How to create an equitable education for both white and minority students
Deseret News op-ed by Hannah Wold, a second-grade teacher in the Alpine School District

A recent educational trend that is proving to be particularly problematic for minority students involves school discipline. Since the early 1990s, many schools have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to school code violations. The result is a near doubling of the number of students suspended annually from school since 1974. Suspensions have increased from 1.7 million each year to 3.1 million each year.
Minorities are heavily overrepresented among those most harshly sanctioned in schools. Nationally, black students are 2.6 times more likely to be suspended than white peers, and a close examination of academic literature suggests that black students may be disciplined more severely for less serious or more subjective reasons.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDh

 

A correction on school grade info
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Keith C. Rittel, superintendent, Provo City School District

Dear Provo residents,
You should have recently seen in your mailbox our annual summer newsletter to the community. I have discovered that I shared some inaccurate data in my write-up about the district’s school grades. Rather than the 14 “A” and “B” schools I reported, we had 13 (3 “A” schools and 10 “B” schools). Grades are assigned by the state based on student achievement data from the 2015-2016 school year.
The state changed its grading cut scores during the fall of 2016, preceded by many versions and calculations that took place at that time. My number of 14 schools was based on a preliminary, not final, set of calculations. FYI, if the state had not chosen to raise the cut scores for school grades, Provo City School District would have had 10 “A” and 3 “B” schools. The impact of this re-scoring was similar for Provo City School District as with schools statewide.
Please be assured that we have approved school improvement plans for all of our schools in the district, including those that did not receive “A” grades.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDv

 

The attack dogs are coming out again to squelch the Our Schools Now effort
Deseret News letter from Kerry Soelberg

It’s interesting to see the attack dogs coming out again to squelch the Our Schools Now effort that would give Utah voters the chance to share their feelings regarding funding for our public schools. A coalition of Utah business leaders, parents and educators molded this citizen choice initiative, and opinion polls show that a modest majority of us agrees with them. On the other hand, naysayers insist that the radical proposal to elevate Utah (take your Dramamine now) from 51st in the nation in per pupil spending to…51st but within shooting distance of No. 50, would damage our economy and our middle class.
Perhaps our local business leaders are tired of filling their highest paid positions with young workers from out of state because our children are not qualified to accept the demanding jobs of today’s economy. Perhaps they have noticed that Utah’s educational outcome for our children has slid from “I can’t believe that Utah gets to 10th or 15th nationally with squat for funding,” to “25th or 35th ain’t too bad.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDf

 

Teach handwriting
Deseret News letter from Sherri Einfeldt

Our elementary schools, at least in the Davis District, are almost completely doing away with any kind of handwriting. Period. Nearly everything is typed on a keyboard. This means students eventually will not be able to sign their name, write a birthday card to grandma, leave cheerful notes on the mirror, or anything else that requires using a pen and paper. It’s a travesty.
Just because we’re in a digital age does not mean that we should become automatons. Losing the personal touch, the ability to write, is a step away from a truly civilized society. It’s necessary to have tech skills, but we shouldn’t be throwing away one of the foundations of being human. There will be societal consequences down the road from losing this artful and vital skill.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDi

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

 

DeVos has the right idea for sparking America’s next education revolution
(Washington, DC) The Hill op-ed by KEVIN ROBERTS, vice president of the Texas Public Policy Foundation

American education is at a crossroads. With per pupil spending at record highs, and educational attainment stagnant at best, our return on investment has never been worse. Understanding that reality is undoubtedly the context for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ persisting intention to introduce education choice.
DeVos’ plans are fitting. Every generation or so, reformers grapple with the declining quality of education, and succeed in making some improvements. Too often, those changes merely nibble around the edges, as the entrenched interests of teachers’ unions, administrator associations, and school boards prevent large-scale reform.
Consequently, about once per century — so just twice in American history — there is a movement to refashion the very notion of education in America. The first of these, in the early 1800s, culminated in what we now recognize as our public education system. To this day, Americans should be proud of a system that, in spite of a deeply heterogeneous population, both taught the basics and fostered a unifying vision of the common good.
Unfortunately, the opposite has been true for too long.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aD0

 

Sacrificing educators’ consciences to raise high school graduation rates
Washington Post commentary by columnist Jay Mathews

During six years as a math teacher in Littleton, Colo., Peter Jonnard created a huge bank of questions only he knew the answers to so that students could no longer cheat on the online credit recovery tests they needed to graduate from high school.
Only 40 percent of his students passed his cheat-proof exams, he said. The passing rate for other students, who could game the system to get the answers, was about 80 percent, he said.
Ayde Rosas Davis, a high school math teacher in Del Rio, Tex., had it even worse. When she saw other teachers routinely giving students the answers to credit recovery test questions, she complained to her supervisor, her superintendent, her school board and the Texas Education Agency (TEA).
Two years later, there has been no progress, Davis said. In April, the TEA denied her complaint. The school district’s attorney, Robert A. Schulman, told me it “strongly promotes academic integrity and does not condone cheating in any form or context.”
But Gene Acuna, spokesman for the TEA, said “TEA does not have the authority to review/approve curriculum programs.” The agency instead concluded that the district had taken steps to correct the situation, so it closed the complaint without revealing what was done. Davis said she was never interviewed by the agency.
The district did not comment on its graduation rate soaring from 69 percent in 2007 to 92 percent in 2015 while its students’ college readiness rate remained a dismal 8 percent. District officials also did not respond when I asked if they had checked their credit recovery passing rate as Jonnard did in Littleton. Jonnard’s district had no comment.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCX

 

Abstinence-only education doesn’t work. We’re still funding it.
In theory, it’s fine. In practice, it usually fails.
Washington Post commentary by John Santelli, professor of pediatrics and public health at Columbia University

Buried among the many changes to health programs in this year’s federal budget was an important one for young people. Congress added new funding for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, bringing the annual total to $90 million. And then in July, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would end funding for the Office of Adolescent Health’s evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention program next year.
That program’s mission is to test and evaluate new and old prevention programs based on the best available science. But there’s no testing needed before the office shuts down to evaluate abstinence-only education. Research about abstinence-only programs is already quite clear, as we document in two new scientific papers in the Journal of Adolescent Health. They don’t work, and they don’t prepare young people for life.
Abstinence-only now has a new name: “sexual risk avoidance.” A new name doesn’t fix the fundamental problem. Abstinence-only programs do not prepare young people for life — and they do a poor job of preparing them to avoid sex. My training in pediatrics and medical ethics suggests that we instead should give young people all the information they need to protect themselves and to promote lifelong healthy sexuality.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aE2

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Americans’ Satisfaction With Schools Edges Up From 2016
79% are satisfied with the state of their own child’s education
Gallup

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans are more satisfied this year with the quality of U.S. K-12 education than they were last year, but a majority remain dissatisfied. Forty-seven percent currently say they are “completely” or “somewhat” satisfied, and 52% say they are completely or somewhat dissatisfied, compared with 43% satisfied and 55% dissatisfied last year.
Although satisfaction recovered this year from a downtick in 2016, the current 47% is on par with where it has been for the past 12 years. Since Gallup began asking this question in 1999, U.S. adults generally have been more likely to say they are dissatisfied than satisfied with the state of K-12 education, with satisfaction levels typically in the 40% to 50% range. The major exceptions were in 2004 — after George W. Bush launched the education initiative “No Child Left Behind” — when more Americans were satisfied than dissatisfied, and in 2001 and 2014 when satisfaction and dissatisfaction were nearly tied.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aE1

 

Ed. Dept. Steps Up Pace of States’ ESSA Plan Reviews
Education Week

After a rocky start in which U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ team was criticized for being too heavy-handed, confusing, or inconsistent in responding to states’ plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act, approvals of state plans are now coming at a fast clip.
Six states—Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, and New Mexico—had received the all-clear on their plans as of mid-August.
In addition, all the other states that have turned in plans—including Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Dakota, Tennessee, Oregon, and Vermont—and the District of Columbia have received some sort of formal critique from the department. The remaining 34 states are expected to submit their plans next month.
Even though DeVos and her team are taking a close look at each plan, it’s not clear just how much of a role the federal feedback is having in shaping states’ final products.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDZ

 

What’s in a name? Virginia school enters Confederate symbols battle
Reuters

MANASSAS, Va. – In the northern Virginia county where Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson earned his famous moniker, a battle has begun to remove his name from the local high school where it appears in large white letters on the red brick facade.
Inspired by last weekend’s race-fueled violence in Charlottesville, a local official proposed renaming the school, extending the debate over Confederate monuments to institutions whose names honor the leaders of the pro-slavery Southern states in the U.S. Civil War.
“It’s time to recognize that these schools were named in error,” said Ryan Sawyers, who is chairman of the Prince William County school board and is also running for U.S. Congress next year as a Democrat. “It’s time to right that wrong.”
His proposal on Wednesday set off a firestorm of debate in the picturesque suburban county about 40 miles (65 km) southwest of Washington, D.C., and provided a taste of what likely awaits similar new efforts in states such as Texas, Oklahoma and Kentucky.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCS

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

 

Poll: Support for charters drops markedly over past year
Associated Press

WASHINGTON) — Expanding charter schools around the country is losing support among Americans, even as President Donald Trump and his administration continue to push for school choice, according to a survey released Tuesday.
Trump campaigned on a promise to dramatically improve school choice — charter schools and private school voucher programs — and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made it a priority. But so far the message does not appear to have hit home with the public.
About 39 percent of respondents favor opening more charters — schools that are funded by public money, but usually operated independently of school districts — according to the survey by Education Next, a journal published by Harvard’s Kennedy School and Stanford University. That’s down from 51 percent last year.
Supporters of charter schools had feared that Trump’s polarizing rhetoric could hurt the school-choice movement.
But the authors of the report say the decline in support for charters can’t be linked directly to Trump. They say support for charters slipped almost equally across party lines: by 11 percent among Democrats and by 13 percent among Republicans.
They also emphasize that private school vouchers and voucher-type programs, championed by Trump, have seen stable support and declining opposition. Finally, when respondents were told that Trump was advocating for charter schools, overall support increased by 6 percentage points.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCY

http://gousoe.uen.org/aE0 (CSM)

A copy of the poll
http://gousoe.uen.org/aCZ (Education Next)

 

The newest advantage of being rich in America? Higher grades
Escalating grade inflation at wealthy high schools is another blow to poor kids
Hechinger Report

PITTSBURGH — Monet Spencer remembers traveling to affluent suburban high schools when she was a member of the marching band at Brashear High School in this city’s low-income, high-crime Beechview neighborhood.
The suburban band members’ uniforms were brand new, Spencer noticed — not passed down and worn-out like hers. So were their instruments, unlike the scratched and tarnished castoffs her school loaned her and her bandmates, including the secondhand flute she played.
The experience sticks in her mind as a symbol of the gulf between the opportunities she had compared to those enjoyed by students living in the suburbs just a few miles away.
“Everyone knows they’re treated differently,” said the soft-spoken Spencer, 19, who was left homeless when her mother died but continued taking herself to school and is now entering her sophomore year in college.
Here’s the latest, more profound way in which wealthier students have an advantage over lower-income ones: Those enrolled in private and suburban public high schools are being awarded higher grades — critical in the competition for college admission — than their urban public school counterparts with no less talent or potential, new research shows.
It’s not that those students have been getting smarter. Even as their grades were rising, their scores on the SAT college-entrance exam went down, not up. Nor are those in some schools more intelligent than those in others.
It’s that grade inflation is accelerating in the schools attended by higher-income Americans, who are also much more likely to be white, the research, by the College Board, found. This widens their lead in life over students in urban public schools, who are generally racial and ethnic minorities and from families that are far less well-off.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDX

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

 

Do Laptops Help Learning? A Look At The Only Statewide School Laptop Program
NPR

It was the year 2000 and Maine’s governor at the time, Angus King, was excited about the Internet. The World Wide Web was still relatively young but King wanted every student in the state to have access to it.
“Go into history class and the teacher says, ‘Open your computer. We’re going to go to rome.com and we’re going to watch an archaeologist explore the Catacombs this morning in real time.’ What a learning tool that is!”
Fast-forward a couple of years and that dream became a reality. Maine became the first, and still only, state to offer a statewide laptop program to certain grade levels.
Alison King, no relation, was just a toddler when the program launched. Back then, kids lugged big, bulky iBooks around all day. In her senior year at Gorham High School, she says she uses her laptop — now much smaller — for most of the day, “We hardly ever use paper.”
Her American politics class is totally paperless. Alison’s teacher, James Welsch, says when he arrived in Gorham seven years ago, he’d never seen so many computers in one classroom. Welsch says it turned the class into an interactive discussion, “It’s like, we can put the world on the desk of each kid.” His students write blog posts, read each other’s work, and share videos and articles — all online.
Then he started to notice that when some students turned in their essays, the writing wasn’t as fluid as it was when the students were putting pen to paper. “You could also see an increase in copy-and-paste,” he says. “Whether it’s from another student, whether it’s from a piece online, digital sharing is what these guys do.”
Because of that, he says, in some courses he requires his students to write out their essays by hand.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDO

 

‘Redshirt’ Your Kids? Study Adds Fuel to a Complicated Debate
Education Week

Many parents spent the summer months deciding if they should send their young-for-grade children to kindergarten on time, or if—borrowing a term from college athletics—they should “redshirt” them for a year, ensuring that they’ll be among the oldest in their classes.
A working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research lends credence to the idea that children who are older-for-grade receive a measurable edge compared to their younger classmates over the long term‐they have higher test scores, are more likely to attend college, and are less likely to spend time in the juvenile justice system.
The researchers looked at children in Florida, which has a robust data set on its students and a Sept. 1 cut-off date for children to enroll in kindergarten. The researchers compared children who were born in August and therefore are newly-minted 5-year-olds when school starts, to children who were born in September and start school when they are almost 6.
The difference in test scores between these “young” 5-year-olds and “old” 5-year-olds was remarkably stable, the study found, at about two-tenths of a standard deviation. That’s equivalent to about 40 SAT points on a 1600-point scale, the researchers said, or about the same as the difference in one-year learning gains between having a very strong teacher as opposed to an average one, according to a 2010 study on teacher effectiveness.
This difference held true even when the researchers took a look at siblings who were born in August compared to September, and it was also the same regardless of gender.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDV

A copy of the paper
http://gousoe.uen.org/aDW (NBER) $

 

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

August 22:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00003548.htm

August 23:

Education Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00003463.htm

September 7:

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

September 8:

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

September 14:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

September 19:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPPED

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