Monday, June 10, 2024

In Case You Missed It – June 10, 2024

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column of our blog page to be informed when our blog posts are published.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"The addition of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is one more step we can take to have a real impact on the lives of our youngest (community members),” [said Allen County Commissioner Rich Beck]. “We are ready to engage our community in securing funds not only to launch the program but to sustain it in the long run.”

Donations can be made at acpl.info/imaginationlibrary or at any branch."
-- in Allen County Public Library fundraising for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library.

LOCAL NEWS

Allen County Public Library fundraising for Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

In 1995, Dolly Parton launched the Imagination Library in Sevier County, Tennessee, where she was born and raised. She was inspired by her own father’s inability to read or write and determined that there had to be a way to help children fall in love with books. The program sends free books to children from birth to age five and helped to inspire a love of reading in the lives of the children in the mountains of her youth. Now, with your help, the same program is coming to Fort Wayne...

From Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Allen County Public Library is using Dolly Parton’s favorite children’s book – “The Little Engine That Could” – as the inspiration for its next fundraiser, its executive director said.

“What did the train say? ‘I think I can,’ ” Susan Baier said during a Thursday news conference. “I think we can as well. I think Allen County can make this a reality, and we are asking all of you to get the momentum going.”

The library’s staff announced a new $100,000 fundraising campaign with the Allen County Public Library Foundation to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to local children. The program gives one free book each month to children from birth to age 5.

The library needs to raise money to fund the program’s launch and sustain the first two years.
Click to donate to the Imagination Library at ACPL.

FWCS expands Peacemaker program after success at South Side

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Next week, more than 60 Fort Wayne high school students will begin training with a local nonprofit on how to cultivate a culture of peace at their school during the 2024-25 school year.

Alive Community Outreach’s Peacemaker Academy started as a nonviolent leadership development program at South Side High School. Since 2021, school officials say the Alive initiative has contributed to a reduction in fights, late arrivals and disruptive conduct.

In February, the Fort Wayne Community Schools board awarded Alive a $500,000 contract to expand the Peacemaker program to North Side, Northrop, Snider and Wayne high schools with money from the school district’s recent Safer FWCS referendum.

Subsequent contracts will come to the school board yearly, Matt Schiebel, FWCS’ executive director of safety and community partnerships, told The Journal Gazette’s Ashley Sloboda. He said the district will evaluate the program’s progress annually and make adjustments as needed.

A STUDENT SUCCESS STORY

Man with Sixteen College Degrees Can’t Read

Check out this fascinating article…

From Nancy Flanagan who blogs at Teacher in a Strange Land
I mostly stay out of the Reading Wars. Not because I don’t have opinions on reading instruction. I emphatically do. I avoid the controversy because—as a lifelong music teacher—expressing that opinion inevitably leads to a pack of Science of Reading enthusiasts pointing out that I am not a reading teacher, and therefore what do I know?

This is deeply ironic, as those same SOR fans also spend lots of time criticizing experienced reading specialists. Also–I have taught in the neighborhood of 4000-5000 kids, over 30+ years, to read music, relying on a wide array of pedagogical techniques. But that form of reading instruction evidently carries no water with the SOR bullies.

I was intrigued today by a story in NY Times Magazine about Benjamin Bolger
NEW ORLEANS CHARTER DISTRICT

After a 7-year experiment, New Orleans is an all-charter district no more

This excellent article summarizes how the marketplace system fails children.

After a 7-year experiment, New Orleans is an all-charter district no more.

From Route Fifty
In August, New Orleans Public Schools will open a district-operated school named for Leah Chase, a late civil rights activist and revered matriarch of a culinary dynasty. The school will eventually serve 320 students from pre-K through eighth grade, with an emphasis on the city’s culture and history. Located in a historic building, it will replace the failing Lafayette Academy Charter School

As they hire Leah Chase’s teachers, pick its uniforms and curricula and arrange for transportation and lunches, district leaders are also creating the administrative jobs other school systems rely on to oversee individual buildings. These central office departments will make it easier for NOLA Public Schools to open more “direct-run” schools, Superintendent Avis Williams says.

You read that right: New Orleans’ love-it-or-hate-it, seven-year experiment as the nation’s first all-charter school system is coming to a close. Going forward, it will act both as a charter school authorizer and an old-fashioned school district.

INDIANA DIPLOMA CHANGES

‘You are hurting the future of the state’: Educators share views on Indiana’s proposed high school diploma changes

Listen to educators!

From 21 Alive
“You are hurting the future of this state in more ways than one with these proposed changes,” a teacher said. “You pay little to no regard to those in the trenches who have to figure out the logistics and add more to their overflowing plates to carry out your ideas.”

Back in March, the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced a proposal to change the number of high school diploma options from four down to two. They say the consolidation is part of an ongoing effort to rethink the high school experience making it more career-relevant and learner-centric.

In the proposal, Indiana’s future diplomas would include the Indiana GPS (Graduates Prepared to Succeed) Diploma, a more flexible version of the current Core 40 diploma, and the Indiana GPS Diploma Plus, a work-based learning approach. IDOE says the new diplomas will align with the state’s current graduation pathways and the five characteristics of the Indiana GPS model.
**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both are available with a subscription. Staying informed is essential; one way to do that is to support your local newspaper. For subscription information, go to fortwayne.com/subscriptions/ [NOTE: NEIFPE has no financial ties to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]

Note: NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It is posted by the end of the day every Monday except after holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.

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Monday, June 3, 2024

In Case You Missed It – June 3, 2024

Here are links to articles from the last two weeks receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column of our blog page to be informed when our blog posts are published.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"The rise of vouchers is especially damaging given that we now know what does boost educational outcomes: more spending on public education. Leaving these potential gains on the table and promoting voucher programs instead of investing in public education demonstrates that kids’ education is not a priority." -- from Vouchers undermine efforts to provide an excellent public education for all

INDIANA VOUCHERS

Indiana's 2023-24 Voucher Report is out now. Here are three articles about the findings.

Indiana: Vouchers Gain Momentum as Income Limits Are Removed

From Diane Ravitch
Indiana started small with vouchers. They were supposed to “save poor kids from failing schools.” But it was the old camel’s-nose-under-the-tent routine. The real goal of voucher advocates was not to help poor kids escape “failing schools,” but to subsidize upper-middle-class and wealthy families who already had children in private schools.

And although 87% of Indiana’s students are enrolled in public schools, the Republican governor and legislature continue to expand the voucher program.

A new state report described the voucher expansion. Mind you, no one claims that students are getting a better education in nonpublic schools, just that are getting public money to subsidize the costs.

439 million ‘dollars to discriminate’

From Steve Hinnefeld at School Matters
Indiana’s 2023-24 voucher report is out, and the results are what we expected. The program, which provides state-funded tuition vouchers for students in private schools, got a lot bigger and a lot more expensive with legislation that made nearly all Hoosier students eligible.

It enrolled a record 70,095 students, a 31% increase over the previous year. And the cost to taxpayers ballooned to $439 million, some 40% higher than in 2022-23.

Indiana private school voucher participation sees historic boost, according to new report

From Indiana Capital Chronicle
Indiana’s private school voucher program enrollment jumped about 32% in the most recent school year, marking a historic single-year jump, according to the state’s latest voucher report.

The state-funded program enrolled a record 70,095 students in 2023-2024, costing taxpayers $439 million — which is around 40% higher than the $311 million spent on vouchers in the year prior.

MORE ON VOUCHERS

Vouchers undermine efforts to provide an excellent public education for all

Vouchers harm schools and students.

From Economic Policy Institute
Since the early 2000s, many states have introduced significant voucher programs to provide public financing for private school education. These voucher programs are deeply damaging to efforts to offer an excellent public education for all U.S. children—and this is in fact often the intention of those pushing these programs.

TEXAS BIBLE CURRICULUM

Texas education leaders unveil Bible-infused elementary school curriculum

Texas injects religion into its public schools.

From Dallas Weekly dot com (DW)
...Districts will have the option of whether to use the materials, but will be incentivized to do so with up to $60 per student in additional funding...

...an initial review of the proposed state textbooks show that religious materials feature prominently, with texts sourced from the Bible as the most heavily used...
RELIGIOUS CHARTERS

What Would Religious Charter Schools Mean for Public Education?

More on public dollars used for religious purposes...

From Education Week
The charter school movement was once the golden child of the U.S. education reform world, celebrated and bolstered by billionaire philanthropists and by politicians of both major parties. But charter schools are in the midst of radical changes and are confronting an increasingly unstable alliance supporting them.

ALFIE KOHN

The Siren Song of “Evidence-Based” Instruction

Education lecturer and author Alfie Kohn writes about evidence-based instruction. There's thoughtful information here that can be used to analyze the current "science of reading" fad.

From Alfie Kohn
I’m geeky enough to get a little excited each time a psychology or education journal lands in my mailbox. Indeed, I’ve spent a fair portion of my life sorting through, critically analyzing, and writing about social science research. Even my books that are intended for general readers contain, sometimes to the dismay of my publishers, lengthy bibliographies plumped with primary sources so that anyone who’s curious or skeptical can track down the studies I’ve cited.

Why, then, have I developed a severe allergy to the phrases “evidence-based” and “the science of…” when they’re used to justify certain educational practices? It took me awhile to sort out my concerns and realize that these terms raise five distinct questions.

1. What kind of evidence?

INDIANA NEWS

Indiana’s new diplomas emphasize flexibility for older students, but some requirements are controversial

From Chalkbeat Indiana*
A proposed redesign of Indiana’s high school graduation requirements to emphasize student choice and work-based learning has drawn concerns from educators who say it’s too much change too soon.

LOCAL NEWS

Public meetings scheduled to approve new SACS Superintendent

This is a video report on a series of public hearings for SACS proposed superintendent.
June 11 at 7 PM, Administrative Conference Room
June 18 at 6 PM, School Board Meeting
July 1, First day on the job if approved
From 21 Alive News

Southwest Allen County Schools announces new superintendent

From WANE.com
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Southwest Allen County Schools has announced that a new superintendent will take over for the district starting July 1 after Dr. Park Ginder announced his retirement after the 2023-2024 school year.

The SACS Board of Trustees has named Dr. Kent DeKoninck as the next superintendent of the SACS district.
Fort Wayne, IN

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.

Note: NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It is posted by the end of the day every Monday except after holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.

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Monday, May 20, 2024

In Case You Missed It – May 20, 2024

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column of our blog page to be informed when our blog posts are published.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"Vouchers were supposed to improve educational outcomes for poor children. The programs have not only failed to improve learning outcomes, they have increased racial segregation, facilitated religious discrimination, and been a windfall for the wealthy (many of whom already had children in private schools), all while robbing the nation’s public schools of desperately needed resources.

They’ve been a civic and educational disaster."
-- Sheila Kennedy in Race, Religion, Money And Vouchers

VOUCHERS CONTRIBUTE TO AN INCREASE IN SEGREGATION

Race, Religion, Money And Vouchers

Not only do voucher programs drain money from public schools, fail to increase student achievement, and fill the bank accounts of religious organizations with public tax dollars, but they have also led to a rise in school segregation.

From Sheila Kennedy
The nefarious effects of educational vouchers continue to be documented.

The Washington Post recently reported on a study confirming what a number of prior studies have suggested: that an unexpected rise in racial segregation is largely attributable to the expansion of school voucher programs.
Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, a study being released Monday shows a pronounced increase in school segregation since 1988, particularly in large school districts with significant numbers of Black students.

Overall, school segregation between Black and White students has increased by 25 percent since 1991 in the 533 large districts serving at least 2,500 Black students — a significant increase but nowhere near the decline that occurred in the aftermath of Brown, according to the study. (Of note: the paper makes clear that most of the school segregation in the United States is driven by demographic differences between districts, not within them.)
The study found that the problem was not housing segregation, although that certainly helps explain school segregation, because housing has become less segregated since 1991. It also found that rising school segregation isn’t driven by economic inequality, which has also declined over this period.
The researchers point to two specific policies: federal courts releasing school districts, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg, from obligations to desegregate schools beginning in significant numbers in the late 1990s; and school-choice policies that let parents pick what school their children attend.
Surprise!–NOT.

YET ANOTHER BILLIONAIRE WANTS TO "FIX" EDUCATION

Peter Greene: Elon Musk Proclaims His Views about Fixing Education

Your child's teachers know more about education than your local, state, and federal legislators, media pundits, and the billionaires who regularly dump their riches into schemes detrimental to public schools.

From Diane Ravitch
I think most educators would agree that they are tired of getting lectures from billionaires about how to teach or how to fix the problems of American education.

But Peter Greene reports that the richest man in the world, Elon Musk, has decided it’s time for him to add his uninformed views to those of Bill Gates, Betsy DeVos, the Walton family, and a long list of financiers, all of whom use their wealth to change the schools.
TEACHER COMPENSATION -- STILL INADEQUATE

The Grinch Who Stole Teacher Appreciation Week

The younger the children, the more important the teachers are, and the less they're paid. It's time to realign our priorities to favor our children...and our future.

From Teacher in a Strange Land Blog - Nancy Flanagan
I’ve always been of the opinion that teachers get so few routine perks in their professional lives they deserve every random treat or award that meanders their way–from sticky little misspelled mash notes to free use of a leased SUV.

After all, there aren’t many workplaces where professionals end up providing their own materials, cleaning services and professional development. There aren’t many college-educated specialists who gladly share their expertise for free–or attend a weekend conference on their own dime, then arrive at work on Monday morning, without a thought for “comp time.” Because if they didn’t show up, someone would have to pay. And it shouldn’t be the teacher next door, or their students.

For these reasons, and a hundred more, nobody begrudges teachers the tokens of appreciation that come their way this week, from the handmade construction-paper cards to the potluck lunch from the PTA. I love it when teachers invite their former students to check in on Facebook–or when they post their stats (years of experience, states/countries/schools, degrees, subjects and so on). It’s good to see colleagues reclaim their honor or share a few points of pride.

But it’s time we asked ourselves just who gets ‘appreciated’ once a year–and whose work is considered vital, essential, and fully professional year-round, with no need for annual symbolic gestures. There’s something about Teacher Appreciation Week that smacks of a pat on the head for being willing to go the distance without adequate compensation or support. We’re supposed to persist and excel ‘for the kids’–a phrase that teachers rightfully perceive as specious and manipulative.

UPGRADE FOR SCHOOL MEALS

School meals get an upgrade: What to expect going forward

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest
In April 2024, the USDA issued its 2024 Final Rule Requirements for School Meal Programs. This rule, effective July 1, 2024, updates school meal nutrition standards to bring them in closer alignment with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The rule will institute the first-ever added sugar limits for school meals and update sodium standards, among other changes.

The meal pattern changes will begin to take effect starting in school year 2025-26 and will be phased in through school year 2027-2028. The new rule represents a significant step toward science-backed nutrition standards in US schools.

In the last decade, the nutritional quality of school meals has improved significantly, thanks in large part to a 2012 rule that updated school nutrition standards following passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Between school years 2009-2010 and 2014-2015, school meals increased in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and decreased in saturated fat and sodium.

Despite these marked improvements, school meals still have room for improvement...
LOCAL NEWS

Indiana sees record participation in voucher program

Indiana's voucher program was never meant to help "poor kids" in "failing schools." The plan has always been to divert money from public education to line the pockets of religious institutions and entrepreneurs. The fact that this harms public education is not a problem for most, and a feature for some.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Participation in Indiana’s school voucher program has nearly doubled in the last three years, with a record 70,095 students – including nearly 10,000 from Allen County – receiving money this academic year to attend private K-12 institutions, according to a new annual report.

The additional 16,833 participants – the largest-ever increase in the Choice Scholarship Program – represented a 31.6% hike from the previous year, the Indiana Department of Education report said.

Participation totaled 35,698 as recently as the 2020-21 year.

This year, students were awarded about $439 million – a 41% increase from last year’s $312 million, the report said.
How much have your county public schools lost to vouchers?

**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both are available with a subscription. Staying informed is essential; one way to do that is to support your local newspaper. For subscription information, go to fortwayne.com/subscriptions/ [NOTE: NEIFPE has no financial ties to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]

Note: NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It is posted by the end of the day every Monday except after holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.

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