Archive for the ‘conflict of interest’ Tag

School Counselors Required to Push Common Core   4 comments

school counselor

I feel sorry for school guidance counselors. There’s a document out called “Role of the School Counselor in Utah Core” that says:

“You [the guidance counselors] are often the first line of defense in honoring the validity of the Utah Core State Standards.”

How many school counselors do you think became counselors so that they could serve (without pay) as marketing agents for the Gates-Pearson-Duncan power machine? I wonder if any school counselors are asking the state school board or their local superintendents on WHAT grounds they should honor the Core’s supposed validity. –Or is even the asking now seen as being insubordinate?

School counselors are supposed to “honor” the validity of UNVALID standards.

Does anything about this seem right to you?

VALID?

Doesn’t the word “valid” imply passing a validity test?

Common Core is both academically and politically invalid.

It’s 100% untried, experimental, and was rejected by its key validation committee members. It has a governance system over states that is contrary to the Constitutional way.

Surely at least some of the school counselors know these things.

The document quotes Jeb Bush: “The Common Core State Standards are an example of states recognizing a problem, then working together, sharing what works and what doesn’t.”

JEB BUSH.

Yikes. Jeb Bush, of all people, is not about to tell the truth about Common Core. Jeb Bush is funded by the very “philanthropist” who funded the entire Common Core and all its marketing, the one and only Bill Gates. Jeb Bush as a neutral, trustworthy source? Not even close!

But his statement is a lie even if it wasn’t coming from a Gates-bought man. Because Common Core is not, and never has been, an example of states “working together”. States didn’t ever “share what works and what doesn’t” to create the Core. That never happened, no matter how many times proponents claim that it did.

It was a group of D.C. businessmen that created the Common Core Standards without input from any Utah representatives nor Utah educators. There’s nothing state-led about it!

Nor did any state (or anyone) ever test these experimental standards. Ever.

This document for school counselors fails to mention, too, that no state has been given any authority by the Common Core Initiative to “work together” in the future, either, to amend or ever ALTER these commonly-held, supposedly states-controlled standards.

In truth, only the D.C. businessmen who created the standards can alter them because the standards are bound under copyright by D.C. businessmen. And they’re not accountable to voters.

So where’s the voice of the people in all of this?

School counselors are being pressured to believe and repeat actual falsehoods to students and parents.

INTERNATIONALLY BENCHMARKED?

Guidance counselors are told in the document that the standards are internationally benchmarked, which is another lie. As Dr. Stotsky has explained, “we are regularly told that Common Core’s standards are internationally benchmarked. Joel Klein, former head of the New York City schools, most recently repeated this myth in an interview with Paul Gigot, the Wall Street Journal editor… Not mentioned at all… is Klein’s current position in a company that does a lot of business with Common Core. An Exxon ad, repeated multiple times during a recently televised national tennis match, also suggested that Common Core’s standards were internationally benchmarked. We don’t know who influenced Exxon’s education director. Gigot never asked Klein what countries we were supposedly benchmarked to. Nor did the Exxon ad name a country to which these standards were supposedly benchmarked. Klein wouldn’t have been able to answer, nor could Exxon have named a country because Common Core’s standards are not internationally benchmarked.

On what planet are the Common Core standards in fact internationally benchmarked?

STATE-LED? NO FEDERAL ROLE?

According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “In March of 2009, President Obama called on the nation’s governors and state school chiefs to develop standards and assessments”.

So the President claims he thought up Common Core.

But school guidance counselors are reading that “The Federal Government played NO role in the development of the Common Core State Standards.”

Confusing? Not really.

There are unarguable proofs to rebut the “no-federal-control-of-standards” claim.

There’s a federal cap of 15% on Common Core in the ESEA flexibility document, meaning that the federal government is telling states that they can’t add more than 15% to their standards if they’ve accepted Common Core.

There’s a federal review of Common Core tests.

Obama claimed he asked American governors to create common standards.

Duncan and Obama advocate for Common Core as they alter the meaning of the term “college and career ready standards,” –(click on it)– the term is now officially redefined on the federal website as being standards “COMMON TO A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF STATES” –on the ed.gov website!

Duncan promised that he and Obama would enlarge the federal role in education. He announced in a speech to UNESCO, “Traditionally [Constitutionally] the federal government in the U.S. has had a limited role in education policy… The Obama administration has sought to fundamentally shift the federal role, so that the Department is doing much more“. Clearly, Duncan and Obama have unconstitutional aims in controlling states’ educational systems. They are not hiding their aims very well.

There is also the top-heavy federal controls mandated for beneficiaries of the Common Core test grant called “Race to the Top for the Assessments” for (SBAC and PARCC testing consortia members.)

There is also the outrageous, official Department of Education partnership with the unelected D.C. club (CCSSO) that wrote and copyrighted the Common Core Standards –as well writing the Common DATA standards. Then we have the federal carrot of money going directly from the federal Department of Education to individual DISTRICTS that accept Common Core. Next there are federal reviews of Common Core tests. And there is federal data collection by federally partnered EIMAC/CCSSO and the federal EDFACTS data exchange, of information gathered by Common Core tests. And don’t forget President Obama’s Blueprint for Reform, which includes STANDARDS as well as data collection and teacher controls and more.

This lie is repeated, as counselors are told in the document’s “helpful talking points” section, that Common Core was a state-led effort “spearheaded by governors and state school chiefs” –assuming counselors (and all of us) are too stupid to realize that governors and school chiefs have ZERO authority over creation of unconstitutional, national education standards and do not represent voters on a national stage.

So on what planet is it a true statement that there is no federal role in the Common Core?

NO HARM TO CLASSIC LITERATURE?

The next “myth” that the document addresses is “the standards do not limit reading to non-fiction but promote a balance between literature and non-fiction works”.

The fact is that Common Core standards will drive the Common Core aligned tests and thus will drive the teaching.

Common Core standards do reduce the amount of classic literature that a student may be exposed to, and that limitation level increases gradually so that by the time a student is in high school, only a small percentage of his/her reading may be literature; most of it must be informational text, the types of nonfiction reading assignments that used to be given in history, science, journalism, or health classes. Now it’s invaded the sacred territory of the English classroom, to the marginalization of stories, and in my view, also to the detriment of the love of reading.

The English professor who served on the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the validity of the standards, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, explained in a white paper:

“Common Core’s “college-readiness” standards for ELA and reading are simply empty skill sets… As empty skill sets, Common Core’s college-readiness standards for ELA and reading cannot strengthen the high school curriculum, and they cannot reduce post-secondary remedial coursework in a legitimate way. Instead, they weaken the base of literary and cultural knowledge needed for authentic college coursework… Common Core expects English teachers to spend over 50 percent of their reading instructional time on nonfiction and informational texts such as seminal U. S. political documents, court decisions, and scientific and technical manuals. This is not what English teachers are trained to do in any college English department or teacher-preparation program… Common Core makes it impossible for English teachers to construct a coherent literature curriculum in grades 6-12, since most of the reading curriculum in those grades must address nonfiction and informational topics. Information about what? Will test developers select informational texts from science, history/social studies, and mathematics that English teachers have never been expected to teach?”

On what planet is there no harm to classic literature (to student learning of it) under Common Core?

STUDENT DATA PRIVACY?

Next, the school counselors’ document says that it is a myth that “implementation of the standards requires the collection and retention of personally-identifiable student data“.

First, a few questions: Can I, (barring homeschool) opt my child out of the Common Core aligned curriculum in any public/charter school in Utah? Of course not; it’s the new (although WRONG) normal.

Second: Can I opt my child out of being tracked by the SLDS (State Longitudinal Database System)? No. Not according to the Utah State School Board.

(If Common Core and student data tracking are completely unrelated, as the document claims, then why are both mandated by the state school board and why do new core tests link the two?)

Third: Even if I opt my child out of taking the Common Core math and English tests, can I opt her out of taking Common Core-aligned college entrance exams, to keep her information from reaching the State Longitudinal Database Systems and the federal reporting exchanges? How?

Common sense shows us that Common Core and common data systems are intertwined. But here’s more than common sense: links to proof.

If you go to the website of the CCSSO, that private D.C. club to which some superintendents belong, that same club that created and copyrighted Common Core, you will read this:

“The Common Education Data Standards Initiative is a joint effort by CCSSO and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) in partnership with the United States Department of Education.” So the Department of Education has partnered officially with the CCSSO/Common Core makers to also create a Common Data Standards Initiative.

When Utah accepted a $9.6 million grant to build a federally-stipulated student longitudinal database in Utah, it also agreed to the PESC model, a CCSSO creation funded by the Gates Foundation. The PESC Model, in its own definition, “includes early childhood, elementary and secondary, post-secondary, and workforce elements, known as “P20,” and establishes comparability between sectors and between states.”

PESC states that it “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum Frameworks and the two assessment consortia. The core purpose of an SLDS is to fulfill federal reporting…”

Did you read that? The core purpose of SLDS is to FULFILL FEDERAL REPORTING. Creepier and creepier. Why even call it a “State” database? Why not just call it a federal database housed inside our state?

I find this alarming. Here is the evidence:

The agreement is stated on page 4 of section 1 (page 20 on the PDF) of Utah’s 2009 ARRA SLDS Data Grant: “The UDA (Utah Data Alliance) will adhere to standards such as the School Interoperability Framework (SIF), the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council (PESC) and other XML schemas.”

We see clearly that Utah agreed to PESC common data standards in exchange for federal money. And the PESC “will do for State Longitudinal Data Systems what the Common Core is doing for Curriculum” and the purpose of the $9.6 million SLDS was “to fulfill federal reporting.”

But wait, there’s more.

The Common Core federal grant for Common Core testing, also known as the “Cooperative Agreement,” says that states receiving this grant money must “Comply with, and where applicable coordinate with the ED staff to fulfill, the program requirements… including, but not limited to working with the Department to develop a strategy to make student-level data that results from the assessment system available on an ongoing basis for research, including for prospective linking, validity, and program improvement studies; subject to applicable privacy laws.” (And recall that the Department of Education shredded the previously protective privacy laws.)

Democratic Senator Edward markey of Massachusetts wrote a letter to Secretary Arne Duncan months ago, to which Duncan has not yet responded. In it, the Senator asked Duncan to explain why he had altered previously protective student privacy regulations known as FERPA.

Equally bad is the lack of safety for student data in the hands of the vendors of Common Core-aligned educational products. A New York Times article this week says that “when school districts are transferring student information to cloud service providers, by and large key privacy protections are absent from those arrangements,’ said Joel R. Reidenberg, a law professor at Fordham who led the study. ‘We’re worried about the implications for students over time, how their personal information may be used or misused.’”

The NYT article also states that “privacy specialists, industry executives and district officials say that federal education privacy rules and local district policies are not keeping up with advances like learning apps that can record a child’s every keystroke or algorithms that classify academic performance. Without explicit prohibitions on the nonacademic use of the information, specialists warn that unflattering data could hypothetically be shared with colleges or employers, to the detriment of the student” and that “under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, schools that receive federal funding must generally obtain written permission from parents before sharing students’ educational records. An exception allows school districts to share student information with companies, like those providing student information systems, without parental consent.”

So, on what planet does Common Core have nothing to do with federal student data collection or vendor data collecting?

A TRAGIC EXPERIMENT ON OUR FUTURE

Tragically, the entire underlying assumption that the Common Core standards are in fact an improvement, rather than a detraction from education, is totally questionable.

Though we wouldn’t allow a doctor to operate on our children without first vetting his surgical theories, yet state school board members and our governor are allowing children to be subjected to experimental standards that rest on zero research data– and there is no empirical data for unpiloted experimental standards. (For more on that, read Seton Hall University Professor Christopher Tieken’s article and video on “Dataless Decisionmaking” and the educational malpractice of Common Core.)

At what point does a parent raise her voice?

At what point does a teacher just say no?

At what point does a guidance counselor stand up for truth?

If I were a school guidance counselor, I would find a job at a private school, independent of Common Core.

If I couldn’t find another job, I would tell my students and inquiring parents that Common Core is a controversial topic and that they should research it for themselves.

I would tell my principal and school board that I did not become a guidance counselor to promote unproven theories of businessmen, noneducators, federal agencies and racketeers.

I would call out the lies of all the Common Core pushers, and not let them make me one of them.

Ethics in Education Leadership   7 comments

There’s a fine line between watching a state leader hold multiple roles in business and politics that are a bit too close for comfort, and having  a leader hold multiple roles that clearly create unwarranted favoritism –or even corruption.

I don’t know exactly where this line falls.

But I’ve noticed an uncomfortable “two-hats-wearing” pattern with some businesspeople-turned-politicians.  And it’s harming the process of proper vetting, voice and vote of “We, the People.” The people’s debate never takes place.  The business-side-of-education “experts” rise to positions of political authority and they then make the calls.  I am not comfortable with it.

Two examples: Todd Huston of Indiana and Aaron Osmond of Utah– both are Republicans and both are youngish family guys, seeminlgy “nice guys”.

But each is employed by education-product sales companies while also serving in the state legislature in positions that influence decisions about which educational products will be needed, and will be purchased, using state tax dollars.

Huston works for the College Board, whose president financially contributed to his political campaign.  Osmond works for Certiport-Pearson which has huge contracts with the state, and would probably have more if Osmond’s recent bill had passed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The president of the College Board, David Coleman, recently gave Todd Huston a large (his second largest) campaign contribution, of $10,000.  Other campaign contributers included Stand for Children, another controversial political group.  David Coleman also hired Huston to be  Senior Vice President of the College Board.

(Remember:  prior to running the College Board, you will recall, Coleman served as chief architect of the ELA portion of the Common Core Standards. Coleman’s now working to alter the SAT to match his creation, the Common Core.   Surely Huston has a role to play in that.  David Coleman, Todd Huston and Aaron Osmond,  are each influencing governmental education policy despite the fact that they work for these educational business companies.)

Will we file this information under “Things that must be exposed and changed” or just “Things that make you go hmmm”?

It’s more than corporate aggression that comes into play. The organizations (Pearson, and now Coleman’s version of the College Board) hold extreme philosophical positions that many are  uncomfortable with.

For example, Pearson pushes the idea of having not just every state, but every country using the exact same educational standards, and Pearson pushes public-private-partnerships, which means having business and government collude over education policy and funding.  These ideas are promoted in the very public speeches of Pearson’s CEA, Sir Michael Barber.

Meanwhile, Coleman, the College Board president, pushes for the minimizing of classic  literature and mocks narrative writing– and he doesn’t do it politely.

These people are not educators.  They are businessmen– setting education policy.

I remember watching Senator Osmond, in a Senate Education Committee meeting last summer when Ted Rebarber and Jim Stergios testified that Common Core was set to harm Utah education.  Senator Osmond was visibly agitated by their testimonies, and said that “the train had left the station” concerning Common Core, and he said that people should stop talking about the problems with Common Core.

 His company sells Common Core implementation products.  It wouldn’t do for him to side with Rebarber and Stergios, would it?

This two-hat wearing circumvents the American process of representative government.  We trust our leaders to be objective enough to weigh options openmindedly.  Someone whose paycheck comes from education technology and testing can not possibly be objective.  Osmond, Huston and others in similar career paths should not be in roles of education policy making over a state.

We should  question the financial and philosophical motivations of our education leaders.  We should not allow the niceness of these individuals to wilt our resolve to make sure we are doing what is actually right for our children and not harming our educational system irreparably.

For Those Who Missed the Meeting: Woes at UT Senate Education Committee   1 comment

Did you miss the last Senate Education Committee Meeting for the state of Utah?

Anyone can subscribe, free, to a report of the meeting’s minutes. I do.

—After I rant and rave about what the heck they’re doing at the Utah State Capitol I’ll paste the official meeting minutes, below.

First:

1. Senator Aaron Osmond disclosed that he now works for Certiport/Pearson.  If any of you know anything about Common Core and Pearson, or the CEA of Pearson, Sir Michael Barber, your spidey senses could be ringing.  (For more, see https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/sir-michael-barber-leads-common-cores-deliverology-via-edi-and-pearson/ )

This Pearson sales employment could appear to be potential conflict for Senator Osmond; he is the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, while he is also a salesman for the company that has already set up major contracts with the Utah State Office of Education. But Osmond stated that he has recused himself from negotiating or influencing contracts in Utah and has recused himself from any interim committee votes or decisions relating to the Common Core or any topic that would benefit his employer. Osmond’s employer provides software to test and certify students in software applications.

Pearson Publishing develops curriculum and training for Common Core.  For Utahns like me who hope and pray for a statewide repeal of Common Core, this is not pretty.

Pearson has a dramatically pro-Common Core marketing angle; so, this sales position of the Chair of the Senate Education Committee calls into question whether Osmond can be fair and detached in the heated pro- and anti- Common Core arguments that are happening in Utah.  What do you think?

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

2. Next issue: it was announced that the “Utah State Office of Education has instructional materials that may be used for parent education on health and human sexuality.

Say what?

Has anyone else detected a “de-parenting” attitude coming from the state (and federal) leaders?  It really bothers me.

Perfect example of that here: Utah bureaucrats feel the need to educate parents about sex and how to explain sex to their children?  Why? Parents can’t be trusted? They depend on the Utah State Office of Education? And in the nick of time, USOE swoops in to save the day from bumbling fools? Left to our own devices, we parents would not teach our own children where babies come from? What is the USOE  thinking?  

It reminds me of Reagan’s line:  “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ “

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

 U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan

3. Next issue:

Brenda Hales and Ms. Shumway discussed how to fund Career and Technical Education (CTE).  I don’t like CTE, Career Academies, SLDS systems, P-20 tracking, or any of the pushy ways in which government tells kids who to be –and who they’ll never be.

President Obama and Arne Duncan have huge plans to make CTE take center stage in an effort to control individual choices as early as possible in each citizen’s life.  And Brenda Hales and Ms. Shumway, apparently, couldn’t agree more. (To see Sec. Duncan’s white house speech and what CTE and Career Academies are about, see: https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/obamas-career-tracking-and-education-reforms-so-much-more-than-common-core/ )

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

4.  Next point:  Brenda Hales also discussed Civic and Character Education.  Double sigh.

If you’ve ever see her leading a state school board breakout meeting, you’ll hear the chattiest, bubbliest, won’t-let-others-get-a-word-in, but least sinister-seeming person, of the entire USOE.  She’s nice, okay?  Brenda comes across as very, very nice.

But “nice” is not enough.  We need “valiant”.

Brenda said that she is “the most apolitical creature you will ever meet.”

a·po·lit·i·cal
(p-lt-kl) adj.

1. Having no interest in or association with politics.
2. Having no political relevance or importance

I don’t know if Ms. Hales meant to categorize herself in the first or the second definition of “apolitical.” If she meant she has no interest in politics, that’s not good;  we need politically valiant people leading our educational system not naiive leaders who swallow whatever the propaganda ministers (Secretary Duncan) cook up.

But if Brenda Hales meant the second definition, “having no political relevance or importance,” then she is a stranger to the truth.  Nice or not!

Her own published, written assertions about Common Core are extremely political. http://utahpubliceducation.org/2012/07/10/utahs-core-standards-assessments-and-privacy-regulations/,  She agrees with Obama about the supposedly improved quality of Common Core standards/curriculum and makes assertions I don’t believe, that student private data are being protected (study Utah’s IT director John Brandt, SLDS, P-20 to see why it’s not believable) and –she still says Common Core’s  not under federal control and that Utah’s autonomy under Common Core is unharmed.  If her claims were true, I could sleep better at night.  But they aren’t correct, and part of the proof of that pudding is the fact that even though I (and others) have asked her to provide references for her claims, she never responds to that vital request.  Why?  If her claims are true, why won’t she reference them?

Here’s my rebuttal and her unreferenced assertion which she never did respond to, even though I asked her to, SO many times:   http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/christel-swasey-responds-to-brenda-hales/

But I see now that again, I  got way off topic.

Brenda Hales. Civic and Character Education.  Sounds good?

According to Stanford University’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the difference between character education and character indoctrination is:

“Indoctrination is a form of socializing persons… to hold the“right” values. Education, on the other hand, implies some critical distance from the topics so that persons can reflect on different aspects of and on alternatives to what’s presented.”

Which will our students be receiving?  The type that allows freedom to determine what is right individually, or the one that shoves an agenda down the student’s throat?

The good or bad effect of “civic and character education” depends on who gets to call the shots.  Who gets to determine what will be taught?  Parents? Doubtful.

If the philosophies of President Obama and Secretary Duncan lead the charge, as they have been in Utah educational circles, you know what we’ll see.

Students will be molded to hold the “right” values as defined by those “progressing” society toward collectivism and socialism, far away from the Constitution and far away from Judeo-Christian tradition.

How I wish the schools would quit going out on socialist limbs and would just teach.  Teach time-tested, old-fashioned math, teach writing, teach classic literature– yes, actual academics!  Leave the indoctrination to the churches and the families.  (And while you’re at it, since you’ll have more time once you quit taking over the responsibilities of parents and churches, why not shorten the school day?!  I miss my high school student.  I want more time to teach her values and skills I know and believe in, and I don’t believe it takes thirty-five hours a week, twelve years consecutively, to prepare a human being for college.)

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –

 I’m finished with my commentary; below are the official minutes.

Enjoy:

MINUTES OF THE

EDUCATION INTERIM COMMITTEE

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 – 2:00 p.m. – Room 30 House Building

Members Present:

Sen. Howard A. Stephenson, Senate Chair

Rep. Francis D. Gibson, House Chair

Sen. Lyle W. Hillyard

Sen. Karen W. Morgan

Sen. Wayne L. Niederhauser

Sen. Aaron Osmond

Sen. Jerry W. Stevenson

Sen. Daniel W. Thatcher

Rep. Johnny Anderson

Rep. Patrice M. Arent

Rep. LaVar Christensen

Rep. Steven Eliason

Rep. Gregory H. Hughes

Rep. John G. Mathis

Rep. Kay L. McIff

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss

Rep. Merlynn T. Newbold

Rep. Jim Nielson

Rep. Val L. Peterson

Rep. Marie H. Poulson

Rep. Kenneth W. Sumsion

Members Absent:

Rep. Bill Wright

Staff Present:

Ms. Allison M. Nicholson, Policy Analyst

Ms. Constance C. Steffen, Policy Analyst

Ms. Angela Oakes Stallings, Associate General Counsel

Ms. Debra Hale, Legislative Secretary

Note: A list of others present, a copy of related materials, and an audio recording of the meeting can be found at www.le.utah.gov.

1.   Committee Business

Chair Gibson called the meeting to order at 2:26 p.m.

Sen. Osmond took a point of personal privilege and stated that, because of his role as Chair of the Senate Education Committee and to ensure complete transparency in his public service, he would like to verbally disclose potential conflicts due to a recent job change. He described his recent job change as Vice President of Sales for Certiport, Inc., a company that provides software to test and certify students in popular software applications. He stated that he has recused himself from negotiating or influencing contracts in Utah. He noted that Certiport was acquired in May 2012 by Pearson Publishing, which owns Pearson Education, a company that is developing curriculum for the Common Core standards.

Sen. Osmond noted that he has reviewed these potential conflicts with Senate leadership, who concluded that no change in committee assignment is necessary at this time. Sen. Osmond stated that he has also recused himself from any interim committee votes or decisions relating to the Common Core or any topic that would benefit his employer or its related companies.

MOTION: Sen. Hillyard moved to approve the minutes of the September 19, 2012, meeting. The motion passed unanimously. Sen. Stevenson, Rep. Hughes, Rep. Newbold, Rep. Peterson, and Rep. Sumsion were absent for the vote.

2.   Consider Draft Legislation “Parental Responsibility for Sex Education Training”

                         

Sen. Stuart

Reid discussed draft legislation “Parental Responsibility for Sex Education Training” (2013FL-0007/010), which requires the Utah State Board of Education to offer training and instructional resources to parents to assist them in providing instruction in health and human sexuality to their children.

Dr. Martell Menlove, Deputy Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education (USOE), noted that the USOE has instructional materials that may be used for parent education on health and human sexuality.

3.   Consider Draft Legislation “Voted and Board Levy Program Amendments”

                         

Ms. Steffen distributed the most recent version of draft legislation “Voted and Board Levy Program Amendments” (2013FL-0315/006).

Rep. Stephen Handy discussed draft legislation “Voted and Board Levy Program Amendments,” which requires the full amount of the state contribution appropriated for the Voted and Board Levy Programs to be distributed each year. He distributed a handout, “Voted & Board Leeway Program Amendments,” which contains a chart and a table that show the effect of fully distributing the state contribution appropriated for the Voted and Board Levy Programs. Rep. Handy stated that, in FY 2012, the value of the state guarantee for the Voted and Board Levy Programs would have increased by $1.78 per weighted pupil unit, and three more school districts would have qualified for the state guarantee.

Mr. Bruce Williams, Associate Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education, noted there may be a timing problem with one aspect of the bill. School district tax collections are not finalized until May, so the information needed to adjust the state guarantee for the next fiscal year would not be available for the 2013 General Session.

Dr. Menlove stated that the bill is supported by several districts.

Chair Gibson turned the chair to Sen. Stephenson.

4.   School Performance Report

                         

Dr. Menlove and Dr. Judy Park, Associate Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education, discussed plans for complying with statutory requirements pertaining to school performance reports. Dr. Park distributed a chart, “School Performance Report Data Reported for the 2010-11 School Year,” which indicates data that will be reported in 2012 school performance reports and data that is not available. She also distributed a chart, “School Performance Report – Components – Annual Filing,” which addresses the process for creating and delivering school performance reports, as well as a document containing suggested amendments to Utah Code Section 53A-3-602.5. Dr. Park also showed an example of a school performance report on the USOE website.

Chair Stephenson invited members of the committee to work with the USOE and committee staff in drafting legislation pertaining to school performance reports for consideration at the committee’s November meeting.

MOTION: Sen. Osmond moved to open a committee bill file regarding school performance reports. The motion passed unanimously.

5.   Elimination or Modification of Reports Required by Local Education Agencies

Dr. Menlove reviewed “USOE Report on H.B. 500 – Education Reporting Efficiency Amendments,” distributed in the mailing packet, which describes reports school districts and charter schools are required to make. He noted that most reports are required by federal law or state statute and asserted that many of the reports are burdensome for smaller districts and charter schools.

In responding to committee comments and questions, Dr. Menlove assured committee members that they will be invited to join him on visits to Utah schools.

6.   Career and Technology Education Funding Model

                         

Ms. Brenda Hales, Associate Superintendent, Utah State Office of Education, assisted Ms. Mary Shumway, Director, Career, Technical, and Adult Education, Utah State Office of Education, as they distributed and reviewed a report, “Student and Course Based Funding for Career and Technical Education” (CTE), which included funding formulas for CTE. They discussed a method of funding CTE courses based on a weighting of job demand, wages, and skill level. Ms. Shumway noted that other factors may be appropriate and requested feedback from the Legislature.

7.   Reports

A.Civic and Character Education

Rep. Christensen, Mr. Robert Austin, Education Specialist, Utah State Office of Education, and Ms. Hales reviewed the requirements of Utah Code Section 53A-13-109, which provides for civic and character education. Ms. Hales discussed some of the projects in which schools are engaged.

B.Financial and Economic Literacy

Ms. Hales reviewed Utah Code Sections 53A-13-103 and 53A-13-110, which address financial and economic literacy education.

C.New Century and Regents’ Scholarship Programs

Mr. David L. Buhler, Commissioner of Higher Education, due to a time restraint, referred the committee to the “New Century and Regents’ Scholarship Annual Report,” which was included in the mailing packet.

8.   Other Items/Adjourn

Chair Stephenson adjourned the meeting at 5:48 p.m.

%d bloggers like this: