Monday, August 15, 2022

In Case You Missed It – Aug 15, 2022

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 to be informed when our blog posts are published.
THIS WEEK

This week we have news from Fort Wayne Community schools and other local school systems. Diane Ravitch reports on some national issues.

Regular readers should pay particular attention to the last article about Facebook tracking codes, even if you don't use Facebook.

FWCS BEGINS THE 2022-2023 SCHOOL YEAR

Take Me Back to the Classroom...

Anne Duff is the current President of the Fort Wayne Community School Board and a member of NEIFPE.

From Anne Duff for Education
...Sometimes working with young people can be a thankless job. While your students really do appreciate what you do, they may not always let you know – no thank you, no hug, no sign that you made a difference. But sometimes it creeps up on them…it took me nearly 40 years to realize that Mrs. Shearer was an awesome teacher. So when your students are out in the world as adults, something may trigger a memory for them. Then they just may look you up on Facebook and send you that message that you really did change their life.

I know my story is about a teacher and a student, but all of you can have an impact on a child – or even one of your co-workers. Though you may never hear it, you have given your students strength. You have given them memories; you have shown them love. As you begin this year, remember that you are creating memories for your students that they may reflect on later in life. Continue to love and inspire them! Continue to make a difference every day.

FWCS staff kicks off new year

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Speakers included Superintendent Mark Daniel, board President Anne Duff and John Urbahns, president and CEO of Greater Fort Wayne Inc. They offered motivational messages from home plate to the roughly 4,000 employees, who will welcome almost 30,000 students back to school Wednesday.

"We get to wake up and sell Fort Wayne and Allen County, trying to create jobs, trying to bring investment to our community," Urbahns said of his organization. "But without people like you, training our kids, caring for them every day, it would not be an easy task."

Daniel further emphasized FWCS' role in the city.

"Hopefully, you understand how important we are as educators - public schools, pre-K through 12th grade," the superintendent said. "We're the building blocks for future economic growth."

Duff, a retired educator and guidance counselor, acknowledged that working in education can be a thankless job.

She shared personal stories to illustrate the effect school employees can have on students.

"When you go back to school this year, remember you do make a difference," Duff said.

Fort Wayne Community Schools leader prepares for 'pivotal' year

Local schools are going back to (the new) normal this year. COVID is not being ignored, but teachers and administrators have learned how to deal with widespread contagions.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Schools across Allen County will begin the academic year this week in a way they haven’t since 2019 – with regular operations in place.

Boards for districts including East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools have approved plans confirming as much. The COVID-19 policies and procedures that affected the last two years are largely gone, including mask mandates and social distancing.

“It’s not as much a focus on COVID,” EACS Superintendent Marilyn Hissong said while summarizing changes to the Return to School Plan for school board members last month.

Rather, she continued, the protocols are good to fight any disease, such as the flu: “You know, taking the normal precautions, cleaning and disinfecting.”

Mark Daniel of Fort Wayne Community Schools told his school board in July that he looks forward to being “as much back to normal as possible” and seeing the gains students will be able to attain.
ANNEXATION FOR HUNTERTOWN?

NACS board unclear on Huntertown annexation

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Huntertown has asked Northwest Allen County Schools to voluntarily annex part of its property into the town, but board members Monday night said they aren't clear about the impacts and tabled it.

NACS' new superintendent, Wayne Barker, said school officials were told the town needs to have a continuous property line in order to annex new residential development. But to achieve that, he said, the district would need to allow the property of Carroll Middle and Eel River Elementary schools to become part of Huntertown.

Barker said he did not know the size of the land to be annexed, or which upcoming or existing developments were seeking annexation. A representative from Huntertown approached school officials with a proposal it wants the board to pass. But those officials could not attend Monday's meeting to explain it because of a schedule conflict.

The annexation of residential development would bring additional tax money into Huntertown. The annexation of the schools' land and buildings would not, as the properties are tax exempt.

OKLAHOMA PUNISHES SCHOOLS FOR TALKING ABOUT RACISM

Oklahoma Downgrades Two Districts for Making Whites Feel “Uncomfortable”

From Diane Ravitch
Tulsa is a majority-minority district, but it made the mistake of teaching something other than lily-white stories about America., where racism might have long ago existed. Teaching about racism today is intolerable.
Representatives for the Tulsa and Mustang school districts did not immediately respond to requests for comment Saturday. In a statement to the Oklahoman, Tulsa Public Schools denied that the training stated that people of a certain race were inherently racist, saying it would “never support such a training,” but the system defended the need for implicit bias training.

“In Tulsa, we are teaching our children an accurate — and at times painful, difficult, and uncomfortable — history about our shared human experience,” the district told the newspaper. “We also teach in a beautifully diverse community and need our team to work together to be prepared to do that well.”

FLORIDA'S GOV. DESANTIS DRIVING TEACHERS AWAY

Florida: Is DeSantis Purposefully Driving Teachers Away?

From Diane Ravitch
Ron DeSantis, Governor of Florida, has pushed policies that are driving teachers out of their profession. He knows exactly what he is doing. He favors charter schools and voucher schools, where teachers have no job security, no pensions.

Teachers are leaving public schools. They are quitting. DeSantis is getting what he wants.
BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — The Palm Beach County School District appears to be in desperate need of teachers as the new school year gets underway. The first day of school for students is August 10th. Several teachers tell BocaNewsNow.com that they — and their colleagues — are leaving their long-held positions due to what they call the politicization of teaching by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
FACEBOOK TRACKING CODES EMBEDDED IN THEIR LINKS

Facebook has started to encrypt links to counter privacy-improving URL Stripping

This article claims that Facebook has changed its link protocol so that when you click on a link it will track you and the browser you're using will not be able to strip the tracking code from the link. According to our research, this has not yet happened.

Since many of our readers avoid Facebook for this very reason (internet tracking), we at NEIFPE have always stripped the tracking code on articles that we've posted on these In Case You Missed It posts. When, and if, Facebook changes its protocol for links we will continue to make sure the links we provide do not have the Facebook tracking codes.

From ghacks.net
Facebook has started to use a different URL scheme for site links to combat URL stripping technologies that browsers such as Firefox or Brave use to improve privacy and prevent user tracking.

Some sites, including Facebook, add parameters to the web address for tracking purposes. These parameters have no functionality that is relevant to the user, but sites rely on them to track users across pages and properties...

There is no option currently to prevent Facebook's tracking of users via links. Users could avoid Facebook, but that may not be possible all the time. URL tracking does not help much if other tracking means, e.g., through cookies or site data, are not available. While Facebook gets some information from URL-based tracking, it can't link it if no persistent data is available.

Users who don't sign into Facebook and clear cookies and site data regularly, may avoid most of the company's tracking.
**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both are available with a subscription. Staying informed is important, and 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 weekly except on holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.
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Monday, August 8, 2022

In Case You Missed It – August 8, 2022

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 to be informed when our blog posts are published.

THIS WEEK

This week's digest of articles focuses on vouchers and charters. The forces aligned against the common good are hard at work trying to privatize public education. We also have articles about local public education developments.
FLORIDA PUSHES CHARTERS

Florida: Legislature Makes It Easier for Charters to Open

DeSantis and the Florida legislature continue their attack on public education.

From Diane Ravitch
Now the state [Florida] has passed a new law making it easier to open new charter schools and suck money out of the public schools.

As this rampant privatization continues, Governor DeSantis keeps up a barrage of attacks on public schools and their teachers, accusing them of “indoctrinating” their students with anti-racist views and “grooming” children to be transgender.

PLAN FOR TENNESSEE CHARTERS FOILED BY PUBLIC EDUCATION FANS

Tennessee: The Rightwing Plan for Hillsdale Charters Just Backfired

It turns out that the public likes their public schools and public school teachers, thank you very much.

From Diane Ravitch
Molly Olmstead writes in Slate that the rightwing plan to replace public schools with charter schools just took a big step backward in Tennessee. Governor Bill Lee, an evangelical Christian, wanted to bring 100 charter schools designed by extremist Hillsdale College to Tennessee to spread the gospel of patriotism, capitalism, and evangelical religion to the state. Hillsdale scaled the plan back to 50 schools, expecting to spread them across the state.

But then someone taped a conversation between Bill Lee and Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale. Arnn said insulting things about teachers. The Governor didn’t speak up. Then school boards got angry. They respect their teachers. Their teachers are their neighbors. Lots of Tennessee teachers are Republicans. Their neighbors don’t think they are “radical Marxists.” They know they are not “grooming” their children.

VOUCHER SUPPORTER CHANGES HIS MIND

OPINION: After two decades of studying voucher programs, I’m now firmly opposed to them

When vouchers were first introduced they were touted as the miracle cure for "failing" public schools. It seems, however, that the problem is not so easily fixed, something public school educators could have predicted. So privatizers have changed from "helping poor kids" to "parental choice."

If you read only one article from this edition of ICYMI, choose this one.
From The Hechinger Report
In recent years, nearly half of all states have created publicly funded private K-12 tuition plans, collectively known as school vouchers.

This summer, advocates of these plans are pushing to expand their reach, boosted by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Carson v. Makin that states permitting vouchers may not exclude religious schools.

Arizona just expanded its already large voucher program; in Michigan, former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and allies have proposed a voucher scheme modeled on plans elsewhere. In June, GOP supporters in Congress reintroduced legislation to create federal funding for voucher programs.

Vouchers are dangerous to American education. They promise an all-too-simple solution to tough problems like unequal access to high-quality schools, segregation and even school safety. In small doses, years ago, vouchers seemed like they might work, but as more states have created more and larger voucher programs, experts like me have learned enough to say that these programs on balance can severely hinder academic growth — especially for vulnerable kids.

READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK AUTHOR DIES

Jim Trelease, 1941 – 2022

Read-aloud guru Jim Trelease (The Read-Aloud Handbook, 2013) died last month after a long speaking career promoting the benefits of reading aloud to children. This blog post is one fan's reaction.

From Live Long and Prosper
Lesson #1 (quoted from the Reading Research Quarterly. See #3, here)
...how exactly does a person become proficient at reading? It’s a simple, two- part formula:
  • The more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it.
  • The more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow.
Lesson #2 (emphasis added)
The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children...It is a practice that should continue throughout the grades.
The second lesson was also quoted from another source. It came from Becoming a Nation of Readers published some years after the first Read-Aloud Handbook.

LOCAL UPDATES: ALLEN COUNTY, INDIANA

Southwest Allen County Schools board returns to smaller meeting site

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Southwest Allen County Schools board returned to its regular meeting place Tuesday after a year of conducting business at larger venues to accommodate bigger audiences.

The extra seating the alternative sites provided is no longer needed, Superintendent Park Ginder said. The board met in the Homestead High School community room in recent months instead of the district administration building.

Public attendance at SACS board meetings was especially high when contentious COVID-19 protocols, such as mask-wearing, were on the agenda.
Fort Wayne Community Schools unveils Amp Lab during open house

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
A stream of people flowed through Amp Lab at Electric Works during an open house Tuesday, admiring the renovated 1940s-era building now equipped with modern features such as video screens, 3D printers and indoor tower gardens.

Beginning next week, 400 Fort Wayne Community Schools students will come to the two-story facility as part of their school day to participate in an innovative entrepreneurship program that will give juniors and seniors opportunities to work with community business partners.

Superintendent Mark Daniel set high expectations when he greeted the more than four dozen people who arrived before Amp Lab’s doors opened to the public.

“You’re going to see something amazing inside these doors,” Daniel said. “I heard the secretary of commerce speak, and he said Indiana needs more innovative thinkers, and it needs entrepreneurship. This is entrepreneurship on steroids.”

**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both are available with a subscription. Staying informed is important, and 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 weekly except on holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.
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Monday, August 1, 2022

In Case You Missed It – August 1, 2022

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 to be informed when our blog posts are published.
THIS WEEK

Fort Wayne Community Schools approved corporate sponsorship with a local credit union, public schools around the country are keeping their virtual programs, and the right-wing culture wars are still targeting public schools and their libraries.

COMMERCIAL SPONSORSHIPS IN FWCS

Amp Lab lands Fort Wayne Community Schools' first corporate sponsorship for naming rights

Make no mistake, inadequate funding from the state of Indiana and the low priority of public education and children in general, are reasons that school systems have to go begging for corporate sponsors.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Fort Wayne Community Schools board approved an unprecedented request Monday – naming rights to a commercial entity.

The seven members cemented the $625,000 sponsorship with 3Rivers Federal Credit Union about two weeks before the launch of Amp Lab at Electric Works, the district’s immersive half-day program for juniors and seniors. In exchange, one of Amp Lab’s four educational studios will be named for the credit union for five years.

Steve Corona, a board member, stressed the significance of the announcement, saying the partnership illustrates Superintendent Mark Daniel’s promise to engage businesses.

“We know that it costs money to run Amp Lab,” Corona said. “And we need our business partners to do that.”

ONLINE SCHOOL STILL NOT AS GOOD AS IN PERSON

Andrea Gabor: Online Schooling Is a Very Bad Idea

Many schools have opted to keep their virtual programs that were developed during the pandemic.

From Diane Ravitch
Nearly all of the 20 largest US school districts will offer online schooling options this fall. Over half of them will be offering more full-time virtual school programs than they did before the pandemic. The trend seems likely to continue or accelerate, according to an analysis by Chalkbeat.

That’s a problem. School closings over the last two years have inflicted severe educational and emotional damage on American students. Schools should now be focusing on creative ways to fill classrooms, socialize kids and convey the joy of collaborative learning — not on providing opportunities to stay home.

Historically, various forces have pushed for online education — not all of them focused on improving education. These include: the quest for cheaper, more efficient modes of schooling; the push to limit the influence of teachers unions by concentrating virtual teachers in non-union states; and a variety of medical and social factors that lead some students and families to prefer online learning.

THE CULTURE WARS

Right-wing groups are continuing their attack on public schools and their libraries.

Georgia: Will the State Ban Teaching the Truth About Racism?

From Diane Ravitch
In Florida, lawmakers are seeking to make it illegal for white students to feel discomfort. In Oklahoma, a recent proposed bill would allow parents to sue teachers for $10,000 per day if they discuss any topic that does not perfectly align with a student’s closely held religious belief.

The House and Senate bills here in Georgia do not mention critical race theory by name. But they are part of this growing ideological trend to manufacture and capitalize on outrage as it relates to what students are taught or not taught in schools — the front line, as it were, of the nation’s culture war.

While there have long been efforts from the political right to censor curriculum and ban books in U.S. schools, these efforts have reached a fever pitch over the past two years. First, parents shouted at local school boards to ignore medical science and reopen schools as well as remove mask mandates during the height of the pandemic. Then, concerns over the teaching of CRT began to spring up across the country.

Librarians Are Targets for Fascists

[emphasis in original]

From Diane Ravitch
This essay is dedicated to librarians and library staff across America, and to a family member who worked as a library clerk in an elementary school for many years.

“It felt like a knife in my heart,” said Audrey Wilson-Youngblood, a Texas library services coordinator, of the flood of accusations from parents that she and other library staff in the Keller Independent School District harmed students by having books on LGBTQ themes in their collections.

Across the country, librarians in school and municipal libraries feel that knife being turned. Activist parents, sometimes working in conjunction with GOP politicians or right-wing groups such as Moms for Liberty, are waging an authoritarian-style assault on libraries and librarians.

**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both are available with a subscription. Staying informed is important, and 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 weekly except holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.
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