Education News Roundup: Sept. 27, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

There’s some follow up on AP and SAT results.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aNY (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aOf (DN via KSL)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aNZ (UP)

And some follow up on school grades.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOa (OSE)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aOc (LHJ)

Alpine School Board pauses consolidation for now.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO6 (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aO7 (PDH)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aOe (KTVX)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/aOh (KSTU)

Ed Week has a new special edition out on schools and work in the future.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO2 (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

More Utah students taking, passing Advanced Placement tests

Polk Elementary celebrates state-assigned ‘A’ grade for the 2nd year

Local schools earn fewer A’s this year in state report

Decision on closing two Orem schools delayed until November
School board will now vote Nov. 14 on proposed closure of Geneva and Hillcrest elementary schools in consolidation meant to address falling enrollment, aging buildings.

Provo’s newest charter school puts the focus on outdoor learning

Hundreds of bats infest Layton High School

These major tech companies, including one from Utah, are donating money to new White House push

OPINION & COMMENTARY

School bond is good for Ogden and its children

The Funding Crisis Myth
The narrative that schools need more money distracts from discussions about how dollars are being spent.

What Can We Learn From the Private School Enrollment Numbers?
There’s an increasing lack of socioeconomic diversity in private schools

NATION

Schools and the Future of Work
What Will Our Students Need to Know?

GOP Tax Proposal Silent on Private School-Choice Boost, For Now

Florida’s tax credit voucher program helps get students to – but not necessarily through – college, study finds

California schools facing $24B in retiree health costs

Presidential Advisers on Black, Latino, and Asian Students Say Trump Admin. Ignoring Them

Atheist Colorado student sues school district for discrimination

Vermont’s rules on vaccines for school met with parents’ support and pushback

 

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UTAH NEWS
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More Utah students taking, passing Advanced Placement tests

SALT LAKE CITY – More Utah public school students are taking – and passing – Advanced Placement exams, earning college credit and saving college tuition in the process.
And two Davis School District junior highs are among schools with the highest pass rates in the state, according to results released Tuesday by the Utah State Board of Education.
Statewide, 26,544 public school students took 40,755 Advanced Placement exams in 2017 – a 5 percent increase from the previous year.
About two-thirds of those students, 67 percent, earned scores good enough to receive college credit on the exams, a slight improvement from the previous year’s 66 percent pass rate, according to College Board data.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aNY (DN)

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

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

 

Polk Elementary celebrates state-assigned ‘A’ grade for the 2nd year

OGDEN – The students of Polk Elementary School were greeted by balloons, fresh popcorn and an ensemble of teachers waving pompoms and wearing sparkly hats Tuesday, Sept. 26.
“Polk School is the best school!” sixth grade teacher Cindy Cunningham sang, running over to high-five one of her incoming students.
The staff and students were celebrating the news they had earned an “A” letter grade for their student test scores from 2016-17 from the Utah State Board of Education. Of the entire Ogden School District and adjacent Weber School District, Polk Elementary was the only school to earn an A.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOa (OSE)

 

Local schools earn fewer A’s this year in state report

Five schools in Cache County School District scored an A last year compared to two this year. Two Logan elementary schools dropped from B’s to C’s, while Mount Logan Middle School moved up to a B from a C.
The Utah State Board of Education mandates that all schools are graded on an A, B, C, D and F basis. Elementary schools are graded on a 600-point scale based on proficiency and growth on the SAGE exam. High schools add 300 points to that scale to include graduate rates and ACT scores.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOc (LHJ)

 

Decision on closing two Orem schools delayed until November
School board will now vote Nov. 14 on proposed closure of Geneva and Hillcrest elementary schools in consolidation meant to address falling enrollment, aging buildings.

Orem . A decision on the possible closure of two Orem elementary schools has been delayed until November, after the Alpine school board opted Tuesday to allow more time to review its plans and hear more public input.
Dozens of parents, teachers and residents voiced concerns at a meeting at Orem Jr. High School Tuesday evening, many worried that plans to close Geneva and Hillcrest elementary schools were being rushed to a vote – originally slated for Oct. 10. Board members instead opted to pump the breaks after hearing more than two hours of public comment, setting a new date of Nov. 14.
“In the conversations we’ve had, we could see that there are some things that we want to change and items that need to be changed,” said board member JoDee Sundberg, whose board district spans the Orem area. “You have to start from somewhere.”
A revised proposal on the closures is now set to be released by Oct. 6, said Alpine School District spokesperson Kimberly Bird, and updated information will appear on the district’s website.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO6 (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/aO7 (PDH)

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

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

 

Provo’s newest charter school puts the focus on outdoor learning

You can hear chirping birds and running water from the entrance of Treeside Charter School in Provo. There’s wood floors and plenty of natural light as Dena Lundgreen walks through the school to kids exclaiming “principal!” and running to nearly tackle her in hugs.
The school’s appearance and atmosphere is all purposeful, according to Lundgreen, the school’s founder and principal. The school is supposed to look – and feel – like a home for a nearly seamless transition from home to school.
“I want to change the face of education,” Lundgreen said as she ascended the stairs to the school’s main floor after watching students dance in a movement class.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOb (PDH)

 

Hundreds of bats infest Layton High School

Layton, Utah – Hundreds of bats are living in the auditorium at Layton High School.
The school district hired a private company to conduct removal of the bats which are protected and cannot be harmed in the process.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOd (KUTV)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/aOj (AP via MUR)

 

These major tech companies, including one from Utah, are donating money to new White House push

A number of tech companies have pledged to support the White House’s new computer science push, contributing $300 million toward boosting computer science education, according to Recode.
Ivanka Trump announced in Detroit on Tuesday that major tech companies would fund a White House initiative that aims to help young American workers find jobs in the future.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO8 (DN)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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School bond is good for Ogden and its children
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Travis R. Marker

As a graduate of Ogden City schools, specifically Horace Mann, Mound Fort and Ben Lomond, all schools to benefit from the proposed bond issue, I highly support the it! I want my schools to have the resources and infrastructure necessary to propel their students into successful careers and life opportunities.
This bond is good for Ogden, its communities, and, most important, its children.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO9

 

The Funding Crisis Myth
The narrative that schools need more money distracts from discussions about how dollars are being spent.
U.S. News & World Report op-ed by Frederick M. Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, and Amy Cummings, research assistant at the American Enterprise Institute

If there’s an evergreen story in American education, it may be the hand-wringing tales about how spending cuts threaten to ruin the nation’s schools. The fact that the U.S. spends as much on K-12 schooling as any other nation – and substantially more than most Group of 20, or G-20, nations – never seems to dampen the enthusiasm for such stories. This summer was filled with hysterical accounts of how the Trump administration’s dead-on-arrival budget could make this worse by trimming national K-12 spending by one percent. And just last week, Jill Barshay penned the familiar tale for the Hechinger Report in a story headlined, “While the rest of the world invests more in education, the U.S. spends less.”
Barshay lamented that K-12 spending in the U.S. “declined 3 percent from 2010 to 2014 even as its economy prospered and its student population grew slightly by 1 percent.” Meanwhile, she reported that 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries boosted spending by an average of 5 percent per student. According to Barshay, this shows that while other nations cut spending in other areas, the U.S. “chose to cut funding for the schoolhouse.”
Her claims are hardly novel, and the fact that U.S. per-pupil spending continues to dramatically outpace spending in other OECD nations doesn’t much seem to matter. As Arthur Peng and Jim Guthrie pointed out back in 2010, the media’s cyclical, repeated claims of school funding crises simply don’t paint an accurate picture. They observed that, for the past century, “with rare and short exceptions … public schools have had both more money and more employees per student in each succeeding year.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO1

 

What Can We Learn From the Private School Enrollment Numbers?
There’s an increasing lack of socioeconomic diversity in private schools
Education Week op-ed by Richard J. Murnane, Thompson research professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, & Sean F. Reardon, endowed professor of poverty and inequality in education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education

American public schools serve multiple goals. One is to teach all children the skills and knowledge needed to prosper in a changing society. A second is to impart common values critical to the effective functioning of a pluralistic democracy, including cooperation, mutual respect, and an appreciation of differing points of view.
Economically diverse schools are critical to accomplishing those goals. It is exceedingly difficult to build and sustain high-quality education in schools serving only students from low-income families. Moreover, economically segregated schools limit students’ interactions with peers from different backgrounds. It is hard to learn to appreciate diverse perspectives without such interactions.
Unfortunately, public schools in the United States have become more economically segregated in recent decades. Recent research by Ann Owens of the University of Southern California shows that economic inequality has resulted in increasing residential segregation by income, especially among families with school-age children, a trend that makes public schools’ mission only harder.
But what about private schools? Have private schools also become more segregated by income? Given U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ interest in expanding access to private schools through the use of publicly funded vouchers, that question has new salience. To answer it, we used five decades of data to examine who goes to private elementary schools, what kind of schools, and how these patterns have changed over time.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOl

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Schools and the Future of Work
What Will Our Students Need to Know?
Education Week

Technological change, globalization, and climate instability are happening at an accelerating pace all across the world. Artificial intelligence and automation are the engines driving much of the transformation in the workplace. Some experts even predict that 47 percent of today’s jobs could be done by machines within a couple of decades.
So what skills do students need to succeed in the uncertain, intensely competitive workplace of the future? Education Week begins answering that question in this special report, “Schools and the Future of Work.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO2

 

GOP Tax Proposal Silent on Private School-Choice Boost, For Now
Education Week

A much-discussed boost for school choice was absent from the proposed overhaul to federal tax policy outlined by congressional Republicans on Wednesday. But that doesn’t mean it will ultimately be left out.
The GOP’s “Unified Framework for Fixing a Broken Tax Code” does not specifically mention the availability of a tax credit for those who make donations to groups sponsoring scholarships to private schools. School choice advocates have pushed for months for Republican lawmakers to include the provision in their tax overhaul, and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has long been a supporter of such tax-credit scholarships out the state level.
There are more details to come, however: The framework discussing the proposed changes does say that the relevant congressional committees “will also develop additional reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of tax laws.” So it’s possible that some kind of tax credit for school choice could be included in legislation the GOP drafts to implement this tax reform.
At the same time, the framework also says one of the aims is to close “special interest tax breaks and loopholes,” and that, “Numerous other exemptions, deductions and credits for individuals riddle the tax code” that the GOP wants to repeal.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOm

 

Florida’s tax credit voucher program helps get students to – but not necessarily through – college, study finds
Chalkbeat

Students in the country’s largest private school choice program were more likely to attend college than similar students who remained in public school, according to a study released Wednesday. But the Florida program didn’t seem to help many students actually complete a degree.
It’s the latest volley in a long-running debate over the effectiveness of school vouchers and tax credits for private school tuition, policies that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has championed.
The study may bolster claims that these programs help students in the long run, and shouldn’t be judged only by test scores. In recent years, those short-term results have been middling at best and dreadful at worst.
Critics will likely seize on the fact that Florida’s program had only a small impact on degree attainment, and that the bump in attendance was concentrated in community colleges.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOn

 

California schools facing $24B in retiree health costs
Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California schools are on the hook for $24 billion in future health care costs for their retirees, a mountain of debt that’s forcing some districts to curb benefits or spend less on teacher salaries and classroom equipment, according to a new state report.
Los Angeles Unified School District boasts a whopping 56 percent share – or $13.5 billion – of the unfunded liability, although it educates nine percent of California’s public school population. It’s historically provided some of the most generous retiree health benefits, including lifetime coverage for retirees and their spouses.
Teachers’ union representatives argued good health care is an essential tool for recruiting and retaining teachers. But the looming debt means newer teachers are offered skimpier benefits and less money is available to spend in classrooms.
“Districts have to pay our bills and our basic bills are employee costs,” said Teri Burns, a lobbyist for the California School Boards Association. “As that goes up, there’s just that much less that’s available for everything else – books and modernization, computers, professional development.”
Beyond retiree health benefits, California’s teacher pension fund is facing nearly $100 billion in future payments it can’t currently afford.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO0

 

Presidential Advisers on Black, Latino, and Asian Students Say Trump Admin. Ignoring Them
Education Week

Three long-standing presidential commissions designed to expand educational opportunities for non-white students are set to expire Saturday and members say months of silence from the White House has them worried they’re about to be dissolved.
The presidential advisory commissions on educational excellence for black, Hispanic, and Asian American and Pacific Islander students in K-12 schools and on college campuses have not met since President Donald Trump took office in January. Although members of the groups have reached out, the White House has not responded.
“We assume that silence indicates a lack of interest,” said Patricia G├índara, a member of the Hispanic commission who is a research professor and co-director at the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The existence of the three initiatives dates to 1990, the year former President George H.W. Bush commissioned the oldest of the three, the initiative for Hispanic education.
Former advisers to both Democratic and Republican presidents, as well as a former education secretary, credit the groups with linking past administrations with experts and advocates that shaped White House education policy.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aOk

 

Atheist Colorado student sues school district for discrimination
Reuters

DENVER – A former student has accused a public high school in Colorado of lowering her grades and undermining her college plans because she is an atheist, according to a federal lawsuit.
Cidney Fisk, 19, a graduate of Delta County High School, contends her rights under the U.S. Constitution, including her right to free speech, were violated, according to the lawsuit filed on Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver.
“Defendants retaliated upon plaintiff Fisk, threatened, punished and censored her, for expressing her opinions on religion, abortion, sex education, and drug education,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit names Delta County Joint School District No. 50, which serves the town of Delta about 180 miles (290 km) southwest of Denver, as well as its superintendent, school board, a teacher and counselors as defendants.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO3

http://gousoe.uen.org/aO4 (Grand Junction [CO] Daily Sentinel)

 

Vermont’s rules on vaccines for school met with parents’ support and pushback
NewsHour

Several states have tightened their immunization requirements, requiring children who attend school get vaccinated against preventable illnesses. But some parents who believe vaccines should be a personal choice are pushing back.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aO5

 

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

October 2:

Administrative Rules Review Committee meeting
9 a.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00004164.htm

October 4:

Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 210 Senate Building
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00004176.htm

October 12:

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

October 13:

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

October 17:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=APPEXE

October 18:

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

November 1:

Education Interim Committee meeting
10 a.m., Utah Valley University, Orem
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=INTEDU

November 9:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
https://www.utahscsb.org/2017

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