Monday, January 13, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Jan 13, 2020

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. 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.


Teacher pay touted, testing derided at education forum

At a local education forum last week, some local legislators encouraged the state to increase teacher pay. Let's see how they vote when the time comes.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
“Teacher salaries are set at the local level. ... It is a local decision on how many of those dollars actually go into the classroom,” Brown said.

Abbott said legislators should consider reducing or removing “unnecessary burdensome regulations” imposed by the state that add to school expenses.

GiaQuinta said, “We need to keep putting more money into the system, in my mind, for traditional public schools.”

The General Assembly has increased public education spending by $1 billion in the last three years, Kruse said, “and I think we need to keep doing that. I think it's not good that our teachers are not getting a starting salary of at least $40,000. I think there's still some schools where you're making $32,000 or $33,000 ... (for) a beginning teacher, which I think is too low.”

Panel chooses $291 million for university projects, not teacher pay hike

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Legislators gave initial approval Tuesday to spending $291 million in cash on six university projects despite Democratic attempts to push the money to teacher pay.

The House Ways and Means Committee passed House Bill 1007 by a party-line vote of 13-7 with Republicans supporting the measure and Democrats against.

Indiana governor changes stance on teacher pay action

Indiana Governor Holcomb continues to postpone any decision on teacher pay. Meanwhile, Indiana schools are experiencing difficulty finding teachers, pay for Indiana teachers is lower than surrounding states and lower than the national average, and schools are working with funding which still hasn't caught up to pre-2008 funding (when adjusted for inflation).

From Indiana Business Journal
Republican Eric Holcomb has said he would wait for recommendations later this year from a teacher pay commission he appointed in February, but he told reporters Monday—on the first day of the legislative session—that might change with state tax revenues growing faster than expected.


Bernie Sanders Calls for an End to Annual Standardized Testing

From Diane Ravitch
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was one of the few members of the U.S. Senate to vote against No Child Left Behind when it was approved by Congress in 2001.

Today is the anniversary of the signing of that law.

Sanders writes that the federal mandate for annual testing in grades 3-8 has been an expensive failure.

In this article in USA Today, Sanders calls for an end to the NCLB mandate...


Mike Bloomberg Announces Centerpiece of His Education Agenda: Charter Schools Galore!

Is there something about being uber-rich that leads one to support public school privatization? Why do folks like Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and now Mike Bloomberg, consistently support the defunding of public education?

From Diane Ravitch
So pleased was Bloomberg with his charter policy [as mayor of New York City] that it is now the centerpiece of his national education agenda.

He doesn’t care about the nearly 90% of kids who are enrolled in public schools.

He believes in privatization.


Melton cancels run for governor

A Gary Democrat who had launched a campaign to challenge incumbent Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2020 has withdrawn from the race.

In a statement released Monday, State Sen. Eddie Melton said he will instead file for re-election in his current office.

"Over the past six months, I have had the privilege of traveling our state and engaging with thousands of Hoosiers, hearing their concerns about educational funding, economic mobility, draconian laws oppressing women’s ability to make their own health care decisions, and failure to honor our Veterans' sacrifices," he said. "The ability to engage my fellow citizens in frank conversations has been a true privilege and honor.

"But, unfortunately politics today require way too much of a candidate’s time being spent on the phone chasing dollars."

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Letters: DeVos failing public schools

NEIFPE member Kathy Candioto sent this letter to the editor about Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

DeVos failing public schools

Published: January 12, 2020
I challenge anyone to name something positive that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has done for public education.

A longtime Republican donor from Michigan (whose family's worth is $5.4 billion), Devos got off to a rough start when her 2017 Senate confirmation hinged on a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence. The hearings revealed her amazing lack of knowledge on education law and policy.

DeVos attended private schools, as did her children. Caring little about public schools, she is strong advocate for vouchers and charters. It is shameful that Cabinet member DeVos should be held in contempt of court and her department fined $100,000. (October, 2019).

Public school supporters look forward to the end of DeVos' tenure in 2020. DeVos has been a complete failure to our public school teachers and students.

Kathy Candioto

Fort Wayne

Monday, January 6, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Jan 6, 2020

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. 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.


Indiana’s $1 charter school law challenged by 2 more districts, following West Lafayette case

Communities pay for their local schools yet the State of Indiana allows private companies to buy those schools which have closed for $1.

From the Journal & Courier
A pair of Northwest Indiana school districts, fearing they might have to give up recently vacated classroom space for $1 to a charter school, followed West Lafayette Community School Corp.’s lead this week, filing a lawsuit challenging a state law they say is unconstitutional.

On Thursday, the Lake Ridge School Corp. and School City of Hammond filed a suit naming Gov. Eric Holcomb, the State Board of Education and the Indiana Department of Education, arguing that the state law – passed in 2011 and designed as a key piece of Indiana’s school reform movement – treated the districts unfairly and amounted to a “taking without just compensation.”


Indiana’s 2019 graduation rate is steady, but fewer students are passing the exit exam

Perhaps decisions about education should be made by actual educators rather than the reform-informed/influenced legislators.

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana could see fewer students require waivers as it adopts what’s known as graduation pathways, which offers Indiana high schoolers multiple options for completing the requirements to graduate, thus deemphasizing testing. Students choose their path based on their interests, such as going to college or earning a technical certification.

Supporters of the approach say pathways better prepares students for careers, but critics insist the options could lower the bar for Indiana’s students and devalue the state’s diploma.

The new data also shows that virtual schools continue to post some of the lowest overall graduation rates in the state. Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, which closed in September after the state found it inflated enrollment, saw 5.6% of its seniors graduate. Achieve Virtual Education Academy graduated 48%, and Indiana Connections Academy graduated 61%.

Nationally, only about half of virtual students graduate on time, said Gary Miron, a national policy fellow at the National Education Policy Center.


Arguably the two most appalling stories about the standardized testing obsession of the 2010s

There's too much testing. We're using the tests in the wrong ways.

From the Answer Sheet
No teacher had been asked to help write NCLB, and the results showed: Schools were labeled as failing and penalized unfairly; many schools sharply limited or dropped teaching key subjects such as history, science and the arts because only math and reading were tested; and test preparation became the focus of the school day in many classrooms. Recess for young kids? No time.

Arne Duncan...knew that NCLB had been a failure, but he pursued policies that made standardized testing even more important than before. He wanted states to use the scores to evaluate teachers and principals...

There were stories about teachers being evaluated on the test scores of students they didn’t have and subjects they didn’t teach.

There were stories of high-performing teachers getting poor evaluations because of complicated and problematic algorithms that were used to calculate their “worth” in class...

And there were stories of pep rallies and other incentives to get students “excited” about taking standardized tests.

But there were two that still resonate deeply and reveal just how vacant — and mean — some of the policy was...


Chalkbeat: How GreatSchools Inc. Contributes to Segregation

Despite the fact that Separate but Equal was declared unconstitutional in 1954, the US still has segregated schools.

From Diane Ravitch
Matt Barnum and Gabrielle LaMarr LeMee wrote a provocative article about the way that a private school rating agency rates schools and steers patents toward white affluent schools and away from schools where children of color predominate. Larry Cuban reposted the article on his blog.

GreatSchools ratings effectively penalize schools that serve largely low-income students and those serving largely black and Hispanic students, generally giving them significantly lower ratings than schools serving more affluent and more white and Asian students, a Chalkbeat analysis found.


Teachers' pay not on '20 agenda

Teachers...Parents...have you followed up with your legislators and the Governor since the Red for Ed Rally last November? If you don't then we were just making noise with no substance.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
In just 48 days, Indiana lawmakers hope to curb the smoking epidemic, shore up the state's unemployment fund and make some modest changes in education.

But the biggest issue – raising teacher pay – will have to wait until 2021.

The session opens Jan. 6 and must end by midnight March 14. But the desired end-date is March 11 due to NCAA basketball coming to town.

Republicans are holding firm that a short session isn't an appropriate time to open up the state's two-year budget.

But Democrats say that's exactly what they are doing by planning to change the existing budget to pay for a handful of building projects with cash instead of bonding. This is akin to buying a house with cash instead of taking out a mortgage.

Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary, proposed funneling some of the excess dollars in the state's reserve fund – $200 million of $300 million identified by Republicans – to an existing Teacher Appreciation Grant program.

Gov. Holcomb talks teacher pay

The challenge, Holcomb says, is trying to put money in teachers’ pockets yet preserve district autonomy.

Holcomb created his “Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission” to address that challenge.

“Thankfully, the Teachers Association (union) is at that table on that teacher commission,” says Holcomb.

“I want to make sure, once again, this is critically important that salaries are locally bargained.”


Schools fight trend to prepare new teachers

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Enrollment in teacher preparation programs has dropped more than 33% nationwide since 2010, and Indiana has been affected more than most, according to a report this month from the Center for American Progress.

The nine states where enrollments dropped at least 50% include Indiana, 54%, and neighboring Michigan and Illinois, 67% and 60%, respectively, the nonpartisan policy institute found.

The report, “What to Make of Declining Enrollment in Teacher Preparation Programs,” examined federal data from 2010 to 2018, including the number of students who completed such training. That figure dropped 28% in that period.

The trend is worrisome for Fort Wayne Community Schools, the state's largest school district. It serves nearly 30,000 students.


Education Law Center: The Failure of Vouchers in Texas and of Voucher Expansion in Arizona

From Diane Ravitch
It has not been a good year for vouchers. The research continues to show that they don’t “save poor kids from failing schools.” They are in fact more likely to cause their academic performance to decline.

Pastors for Texas Children has led the effort to block vouchers in Texas and SOS Arizona led the effort to block voucher expansion in Arizona.

Voucher advocates (Koch-funded) are coming back with new legislation for 2020, and Arizona SOS has pledged to beat them again.

There are heroes among us.


WI: Pre-K Cyberschool Shenanigans

With all the news about the damage screen-time is doing to young children you'd think that legislators would be against more of it, yet here we have another state falling for the online preschool scam...just like Indiana.

From Curmudgucation
A few Wisconsin legislators have a dumb idea for a law. They'd like to spend $1.5 million on cyberschool-- on line computerized instruction-- for pre-schoolers.

This is just layers and layers of dumb.

First, cyberschools in general have proven to be lousy. Spectacularly lousy-- and that's in a study run by an organization sympathetic to charters.. Students would be better off spending a year playing video games lousy. So bad that even other charter school promoters won't defend them lousy. In short, outside very specific sets of special needs, there is no evidence that cyberschooling works.

Second, while there is still considerable debate, the general consensus is that screen time for littles should be somewhere between very small amounts and none at all.

Third, academic studies are a lousy idea for littles, unlikely to yield real benefits even as they may create real harm.


A tiny Indiana town saw promise in virtual charter schools. Then things started to unravel.

The lesson to be learned here is that you cannot trust charter schools to have the best interests of children in mind. The Bottom Line is profit...

From Chalkbeat*
When Indiana’s largest charter network collapsed earlier this year after an enrollment scandal that triggered state and federal investigations, the resulting mess left hundreds of students scrambling for transcripts, dozens of teachers unpaid, and $40 million still owed to the state.

The downfall of Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy also placed under the microscope Daleville Community Schools, a tiny rural district that runs just two brick-and-mortar schools serving fewer than 1,000 students in total.

Despite having no experience as a charter authorizer, Daleville took on an oversight role when Indiana Virtual School opened in 2011 and, over the years, accepted more than $3.2 million in state funding to monitor them and ensure their success.


What’s next for Indy ‘turnaround academies’?

From School Matters
It seemed like a victory for Indianapolis Public Schools when the Indiana Charter School Board voted Dec. 13 to reject charter applications for three Indianapolis “turnaround academy” schools.

But it’s not over till it’s over. The fate of the schools – Emmerich Manual High School, T.C. Howe School and Emma Donnan Middle School – is still in the hands of the State Board of Education. And the board has already turned a cold shoulder to the idea of returning the schools to IPS.

The State Board of Education will consider what happens next at its Jan. 15 meeting.

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


Monday, December 23, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 23, 2019

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

NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It will return on January 6, 2020. Keep up with our education updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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.


The Failure of Betsy DeVos and 30 Years of Corporate Influence on Public Schools!

From Nancy Bailey
Frustrated by public schools? Look no further than the corporate education reformers and what they have done to public education.

Education Secretary DeVos and her corporate billionaire friends have been chipping away at the fabric of democratic public schools for over thirty years!

The problems we see in public schools today are largely a result of what they did to schools, the high-stakes testing and school closures, intentional defunding, ugly treatment of teachers, lack of support staff, segregated charter schools, vouchers that benefit the wealthy, Common Core State Standards, intrusive online data collection, and diminishing special education services.

Big business waged a battle on teachers and their schools years ago. The drive was to create a business model to profit from tax dollars. Now they want to blame teachers for their corporate-misguided blunders! It’s part of their plan to make schools so unpleasant, parents will have no choice but to leave.


Why is Accountability Too Much to Ask of Charter Schools?

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
If you hire someone to buy your groceries, you’ll probably ask for a receipt.

That’s really all education advocates want from the charter school industry.

Charter schools are bankrolled with tax dollars but often run by private businesses.

Is it too much to ask these businesses to account for how they spend the money?

Apparently it is because Jeanne Allen has been sending her representatives all over the country to harass Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and any other candidate with the audacity to demand charter schools be transparent and accountable.

Yesterday she wrote another blistering press release with the title:

“Democratic Candidates Asked to Listen to Voices of Struggling Parents Following Them Across Nation”
Allen is CEO and Founder of the Center for Education Reform – a billionaire backed lobbying firm for school privatization.

Not exactly a “struggling parent” or anyone who speaks for them. But she is a former member of the Heritage Foundation and current member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

She doesn’t speak for parents. She speaks for the billionaires who pay her salary.


Peter Greene: Congress to DeVos: “Sorry, Nope, No Way”

From Diane Ravitch
There is good news and bad news. Peter Greene thinks it’s mostly good news. I’d say there is both.

Congress did not appropriate a penny for Betsy DeVos’s top priority, her $5 billion request for vouchers (aka “education freedom scholarships”). Sorry, Betsy, nada. Even Republican Congressmen and Senators represent public school parents.

But Congress appropriated $440 million for Betsy’s charter school slush fund, otherwise known as the federal Charter Schools Program. The CSP is a swamp of fraud, waste, and abuse, as the Network for Public Education demonstrated in its “Asleep at the Wheel” and “Still Asleep at the Wheel” reports, which showed that more than $1 billion in federal funds were wasted on charters that either never opened or closed not long after opening...


Greater Clark County Schools discuss plan to replace art teachers with 'classified specialists'

Greater Clark County Schools said it can save more than $600,000 by making changes to its art programs.

District officials laid out a plan during a Tuesday board meeting to do away with certified art teachers by replacing them with "classified specialists." These specialists would not have to be licensed and would make roughly $17 an hour.


Goodbye to By: North Side Coach Hey dies at 91

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Few better embodied what Indiana high school basketball was in its full flower, when there were hundreds of teams in hundreds of tiny dots on the map, and come March they all went into the same hopper. By was the quintessential product of that era, a Fort Wayne boy who played at Concordia and then came back to town as an assistant at Central and then head coach at his alma mater, and then went on to spend 31 decorated years at North Side.

By the time he gave up the whistle, he'd won 550 games across 34 seasons and took Moser and North to the state finals in 1965, where they lost to Billy Keller and Indianapolis Washington in the state championship game.

But somewhere in all of that, there was more.


Nancy Bailey: It’s Wrong to Force Four- and Five-Year Olds to Read!

From Diane Ravitch
With No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core State Standards, some adults have been led to believe that four- and five-year-old children should read by the end of kindergarten. Preschoolers are pushed to be ready for formal reading instruction by the time they enter kindergarten.

This is a dangerous idea rooted in corporate school reform. Children who struggle to read might inaccurately believe they have a problem, or reading could become a chore they hate.

Pushing children to focus on reading means they miss listening and speaking skills, precursors to reading. These skills are developed through play, which leads to interest in words and a reason to want to read.


Can public schools have Christmas trees? What’s true — and not true — about religious expression in public schools.

From the Answer Sheet
  • While schools cannot initiate or sponsor religious activities — including prayer — nobody can stop students from praying to whatever or whomever they want, whenever they want as long, as they do it privately and don’t try to force others to follow.
  • Religious groups can meet at public schools.
  • Religious music can be played in public schools when the overall focus of the activity is not religious.
  • Anybody who wants to say “Merry Christmas” is legally permitted to do so.
  • Christmas trees can be brought into a school and decorated because a court has ruled the Christmas tree is a secular object, much like the Jewish menorah. Lighting the candles in a menorah, however, would have religious significance and therefore wouldn’t be allowed.
  • Religion can be taught as an academic subject, not as an effort to proselytize.


Monday, December 16, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 16, 2019

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. 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.


Charter Schools USA loses charter bid, giving IPS a shot at reclaiming takeover schools

The charter board voted against allowing a shady, failing charter operation to help run three Indianapolis schools. Unfortunately, IPS probably doesn’t have the resources it needs, or the will required, to keep the schools in operation without teaming up with other nefarious groups.

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana Charter School Board denied charters Friday for three Indianapolis turnaround schools — a stunning move that could spell the end to the Florida-based Charter Schools USA’s operations in Indianapolis.

As a result, the three Indianapolis schools — Howe High School, Manual High School, and Emma Donnan Middle School — face the prospect of another rocky transition to new management, or even possible closure.

But the board’s 4-3 votes against the charters, which elicited gasps from the audience, marked a major victory for Indianapolis Public Schools, which could win back the three schools that have been under state takeover since 2011.


North Carolina: Leandro Report Sets a New Direction for the State’s Schools; Will the Politicians Listen?

From Diane Ravitch
A report on a 25-year-old court case in North Carolina was released yesterday. The long-anticipated report rebukes the past decade of education policy in the state, led and directed by the Republican majority in the state’s General Assembly. The powers that be don’t like to spend money on education.
...The report confirms what North Carolinians have been saying for years: The state has consistently failed to give every child in this state access to the education they deserve.


A new Indianapolis education PAC wants to bypass controversy. That could be hard.

The fact that charters drain money away from public schools is a fact that cannot be wished away by pretending it’s not happening.

From Chalkbeat*
Jasmin Shaheed-Young has a vision for a political organization that focuses on education — while avoiding deeply contested, emotionally fraught debates over school choice.

Shaheed-Young says she wants the new political action committee she founded, known as RISE Indy, to be driven by community priorities and focus on unifying issues, such as improving student achievement, rather than the debate between charter and traditional public schools.

“There’s so much rhetoric around what is the school model? Who is funding what? But kids are continuing to fail,” said Shaheed-Young, a former vice president for a real estate development firm and Democratic fundraiser. “How do we approach looking at this as a quality of life issue — so everyone feels like they need to do something and there’s not this apathy?”

Although its agenda is not yet fleshed out, Shaheed-Young’s fledgling political group is poised to play a significant role in politics because of its close ties to influential school choice advocates. But those same connections mean that it will be hard for the group to avoid the volatile politics that have come to define Indianapolis Public Schools board elections.


Charter Schools Exploit Children of Color

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
How do charter schools disadvantage the students enrolled there?

Like other vulture capitalist enterprises, they exploit the students they purport to serve by convincing people of color to accept fewer services than they already get at authentic public schools.

Authentic public schools invariably are run by school directors elected from the community who have to make all possible decisions in public and present their records for review.

Charter schools are permitted to run without elected school boards. Decisions are often made by appointed bureaucrats behind closed doors. They are not required to hold public meetings or present school documents as public records. Parents have no way of having their voices heard except that they can take it or leave it.

Authentic public schools have to use all their funding for the benefit of the students.

Charter schools can cut student services and pocket the savings. This is true regardless of whether they are designated for-profit or non-profit.


Report: Federal government wasted millions of dollars on charter schools that never opened

From the Answer Sheet
The new report found:
  • The disbursement of more than $1 billion during the program’s first decade — from 1995 to 2005 — was never monitored, and there is no complete public record of which schools received the funds because the Education Department never required states to report where the money went. During that period, California received $191 million, Florida $158.4 million and Michigan $64.6 million.
  • The overall rate of failed charter projects from 2006 to 2014 was 37 percent, with some states posting a much higher failure rate. In Iowa, for example, 11 charter schools received grants and 10 failed after receiving a total of $3.66 million. The failure rate exceeded 50 percent in a number of states, including Georgia, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland and Virginia. In California, 37 percent failed to open or stay open, after winning nearly $103 million in CSP funding.
  • Although Congress forbids for-profit operators from directly receiving CSP grants, some of them still were able to benefit. The report says 357 schools in the database were run by for-profit chains, for a total cost of $125 million in federal CSP start-up costs. Most of that money was spent in Michigan and in Florida.


Ohio Expands Its Failed Voucher Program, and Most School Districts Will Lose Funding

A study of the Ohio voucher program showed that it failed to improve student achievement. The decision by the state to expand the program shows that the purpose of vouchers were never really to help children. Instead, vouchers are simply a way to divert public funds to religious schools.

From Diane Ravitch
Three years ago, the pro-charter, pro-voucher Thomas B. Fordham Institute published a study of Ohio’s voucher program. The study, conducted by David Figlio and Krzysztof Karbownik of Northwestern University is called “Evaluation of Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship Program: Selection, Competition, and Performance Effects.”

The study concluded that the voucher program was failing to improve student achievement.

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


Monday, December 9, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 9, 2019

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. 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.


Buttigieg's Education Plan Released

Pete Buttigieg releases $1 trillion-plus plan for early-childhood and K-12 education

First a comment from Facebook about this article from Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer of ICPE...
I, along with several public school teachers, administrators, & supporters, met with Mayor Pete's husband on Friday to discuss public education just before this came out. First of all, I am glad that Democrats are (finally) moving in the right direction when it comes to education policy--something that was never discussed when this attack began. I am glad for much of Buttigieg's platform here (like early childhood). BUT (yes, there's a but):

1) It's easy to say you will fund things but without a plan (and taxing the uber-wealthy billionaires who keep meddling in public education--like Reed Hastings, privatizer/enemy of public ed who held a big fundraiser in July for Pete's campaign, would be reassuring to me. I worry about the company he keeps. )

2) He is not joining the national NAACP, nor Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, with a moratorium on federal funding of charter schools. This is hugely problematic. You cannot say you are helping fund equity all the while funding charter schools (which are NOT public schools--they are PRIVATELY run and not accountable to the public thru a publicly elected board!) which take away engaged families and funding from public schools. You cannot support a competition for resources while saying you care about equity.

3) Saying you will ban "for profit" charter schools shows a lack of understanding on how charter schools profit off of our most vulnerable children and the tax dollars siphoned away from public schools.

"The more than $1 trillion in Buttigieg’s plan would be spent over 10 years and would come from “greater tax enforcement” on the wealthy and corporations, according to a Buttigieg campaign spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He would not impose a new tax on the super-rich, said the spokesperson, who did not detail how much money the mayor believes he can realize from uncollected taxes."
From the Answer Sheet
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is unveiling a broad new education plan on Saturday that pledges to spend $700 billion over a decade to create a high-quality child care and preschool system that he said would reach all children from birth to age 5 and create 1 million jobs.

The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., also promised to spend $425 billion to strengthen America’s K-12 public schools, targeting federal investments and policy to help historically marginalized students. He would boost funding for schools in high-poverty areas as well as for students with disabilities, and promote voluntary school integration. And he said he would ensure that all charter schools — which are publicly funded but privately operated — undergo the same accountability measures as schools in publicly funded districts.

With Buttigieg rising in some polls in the early state races for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, new scrutiny is being given to his proposals and his efforts to win over African American voters, who constitute a key part of the party’s base but who have not largely warmed to his campaign.

His newly released education plan shows that Buttigieg, like the other Democratic candidates, would move the country’s federal education policy away from that of the Trump administration. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has put her focus not on the traditional public school districts that enroll the vast majority of American schoolchildren, but on expanding alternatives to them, such as charter schools and programs that use federal funding for private and religious school tuition.

Mayor Pete on Education in South Bend

From Diane Ravitch

The following two articles go together. In the first, Diane Ravitch shared a blog post from Fred Klonsky in which he takes Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg to task for being slow to discover that South Bend Schools are segregated.

In the second article below, Diane Ravitch issues an apology to Buttigieg on the basis of a response by some South Bend readers who explain in more detail how the city schools have been working to keep their schools integrated. Be sure to read both.

Fred Klonsky: Pete Buttigieg Discovers Segregated Schools in His Hometown
Fred Klonsky writes with amazement that Mayor Pete Buttigieg just realized that there are segregated schools in his hometown of South Bend.

He acknowledges that he was slow to come to this realization.

CORRECTION: An Apology to Pete Buttigieg and the Racially Integrated Public Schools of South Bend, Indiana
Several readers of this blog who live in South Bend, Indiana, wrote to say that Fred Klonsky is wrong about Pete Buttigieg and the status of racial integration in the public schools of South Bend.

One native of South Bend wrote as follows.

Fred Klonsky’s article is simplistic and wildly inaccurate and Mr. Buttigieg’s statement about “school districts” is absolutely correct.

First, South Bend Community School Corporation is under a desegregation consent decree, and for many years, almost all of its schools have had black student enrollments within plus-or-minus 15 percentage points of the district-wide average. That is a common, court-accepted standard for a racially integrated school.

Second, South Bend is a diverse school district, with overall enrollment around 35% black, 10-15% Hispanic and about 50% non-Hispanic white. In contrast, suburban Penn Harris Madison school district is more than 90% non-Hispanic white. So, that is the context of Mayor Pete’s context.


Justin Parmenter: NC Software Giant Pays to Send State Legislators to ALEC Meetings

From Diane Ravitch
NBCT high school teacher and blogger Justin Parmenter discovered a shocking fact: a company in the state called SAS pays to send state legislators to the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a far-right anti-public school organization that writes model legislation. SAS sells software to districts and states to evaluate teacher effectiveness. The SAS software is very controversial because it’s algorithms are secret and proprietary. Teachers in Houston sued and won a court judgement against SAS, when the judge ruled that its secret processes were arbitrary and denied due process to teachers, who had no way to know how they were judged or if the calculations were accurate.


Pay raise touted for educators: But no action to be taken in 2020 session, Holcomb says

Note...there are no teachers on the seven member teacher pay commission. There are education professionals on the non-voting committee which advises the panel.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he wants Indiana teachers to have salaries in the top three in the Midwest. But not any time soon.

“It's dollars and cents. I want to adequately and fairly compensate our teachers but I also want to steal some teachers from other states,” he said during an annual Legislative Conference hosted by Bingham Greenebaum Doll.

He said a teacher pay commission that is currently working on recommendations could have a report on how to fill the gap in the spring – after legislators have ended their session. Discussion could begin then for crafting the next two-year budget in 2021.

This is despite thousands of teachers coming to the Statehouse several weeks ago to fight for a number of initiatives.

Did the Red for Ed rally affect the governor’s upcoming agenda?

From Fort Wayne's NBC
As for education, and that massive Red for Ed rally last month that featured about 14,000 teachers and supporters on the lawn of the statehouse?

"What does that say to you, that so many that gathered supported that one cause? Well it underscores what we know and that is education is a priority at every level," Holcomb says.

The son of a public school teacher, Holcomb says he doesn't want teachers to leave schools for jobs in the private sector, even though he says the state already spends more than half of its total revenue on education -- which is why he says he set up the teacher pay commission to study the issue and make recommendations.

"I understand about the salaries, but what about issues that the legislature has imposed like additional hours for continuing education? Or tying student performance to how much money is allocated for schools or teachers?Those are some burdens as teachers would call it. I think they're tired of lip service and they want to see some action," Corinne Rose says.

"They're going to see some action. They're going to see some action, and you'll hear some recommendations from me incorporated into my agenda that I'll release next week. They've not only been heard, they'll be acted on," Holcomb replies.


IPS finds a powerful charter ally in its 11th hour bid to win back takeover schools

Will IPS schools, getting out of the bad deal with the shady Charters USA, now team up with Christel House- the bunch that Tony Bennett changed the grades for?

From Chalkbeat*
Indianapolis Public Schools has a powerful new ally in its last-minute campaign to win back control of three schools taken over by the state — and prevent a Florida-based charter manager from running the schools indefinitely.

Christel House Academy, a politically influential Indianapolis charter network, wants to relocate its southside school to Manual High School if oversight of that campus is returned to the district, IPS and Christel House officials told Chalkbeat Tuesday. Christel House would take over the campus through an innovation partnership, allowing the network to manage the school while the district monitors performance and gets credit for its enrollment and academic results.


Trump Administration Defends Christian School That Discriminates Against LGBT Students and Teachers

From Diane Ravitch
Politico Morning Education reports that the Trump administration has joined a court case on the side of a Christian school in Maryland that was removed from the state’s voucher program because it discriminates against LGBT students and teachers.

This is not surprising. The DeVos family has funded anti-gay organizations and state referenda for many years. The Trump administration takes the view that if religious organizations discriminate, that is no one’s business, even though they are receiving public funds.

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


Monday, December 2, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 2, 2019

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. 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.


Teachers Are Not Responsible for Student Growth or Achievement

While teachers are the most important in-school variable for student success in school, a variety of out-of-school factors can have a much greater impact on student achievement. Legislators should look at their role in those out of school factors.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
It doesn’t make that much difference whether you look at growth or achievement. If you’re holding teachers accountable for either, you’re expecting us to be able to do things beyond our powers as mere mortal human beings.

I hate to break it to you, but teachers are not magical.

We cannot MAKE things happen in student brains.

Nothing we say or do can cause a specific reaction inside a human mind.

That’s just not how learning and teaching works.

We can INFLUENCE learning.

We can try to create some kind of optimum condition that is most likely to spark learning.

But we cannot make it happen like turning on a switch or lighting a candle.


Charter Schools USA finds support for charter applications as critics stay silent at public hearing

What IPS has done in the past (pairing up with charters/innovation) has come around to haunt them, and now these parents trust IPS even less than they trust a failing charter company. Very sad.

From Chalkbeat*
Howe, Manual, and Emma Donnan Middle School are expected to exit state takeover at the end of this school year. With that transition about six months away, the futures of the schools are still in limbo.

Monday’s hearing focused on whether the state charter board should grant approval for the schools to continue under the management of a group tied to Charter Schools USA, which would essentially cement their separation from Indianapolis Public Schools. The state charter board is expected to vote on the matter at a December 13 meeting.


New Orleans: Parents and Students at Two Low-Performing Charter Schools Fight to Keep Them Open

From Diane Ravitch
The subtext of this is that there a few charters that began early on that were controlled by black former OPSB teachers and administrators that were islands of local control (MLK in particular) in a white-dominated, outsider controlled charter system. These schools have struggled in part because they would not cherry-pick and force out challenging students (Treme in particular) and have always been resented by the NSNO (New Schools for New Orleans) people. They have also moved toward unionizing lately.

But it is a good example of how some charters build their own constituencies, even if they are failing, because they are perceived as more locally and black controlled. I imagine the school board will give them a pass just to avoid the conflict.

NEIFPE Members in Indy, November 19, 2019. L-R Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer (ICPE), Michelle Smith (ICPE),
Terry Springer (NEIFPE), Jennifer McCormick (Indiana Ed Superintendent), Donna Roof (NEIFPE),
Jenny Robinson (ICPE), Kay Maren (ICPE).


Teachers' rally exceeds expectations

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Vicky Lomont, a former FWCS teacher who is now an EACS instructor, sat not far from Thiele. Lomont said she is frustrated with lawmakers, who for years have supported voucher systems while neglecting traditional public schools.

“I would like to see my representative listen to me, rather than his party,” Lomont said.

At the rally, Kathleen Cagle, a math teacher at New Tech Academy at Wayne High School, said testing has become an omnipresent force in schools.

“Every year, we're asked to do more and more and more, and none of it is to help the students,” she said.

NACS teacher Kristen Bowland arrived at the Capitol building around 8:30 a.m. Nov. 19.

“We felt like we were part of history,” she said. “It's worth the fight. I'm doing it for our kids.”

Red for Ed rallying cry: Kids deserve more

The last elected Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction reminds us that we need to support our public schools through the ballot box. Every time you vote for the governor, a state representative, or a state senator you're voting on school issues. Support public education!

From Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Kids deserve educators who take a stand against Indiana's disconnected education policy and the issue of inadequate funding. While many, including myself, have been champions for public education for decades, it took a red wave crashing into the Statehouse to finally catch the attention of the lawmakers inside. Frustrations regarding funding inequities, compensation shortfalls and policies void of practitioner input were vocalized by constituents from all 92 counties.

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