Monday, June 27, 2022

In Case You Missed It – June 27, 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 learn about charter schools getting special treatment in North Caroline, religious schools using public funds, and some Father's Day advice. There are also two articles of local interest.

NORTH CAROLINA CHOOSES VIRTUAL CHARTERS

North Carolina Offers Sweet Deal to Failing Virtual Charter Schools

Instead of looking at the data which indicates that their virtual charters aren't working, North Carolina doubles down on a plan that doesn't work.

From Diane Ravitch
North Carolina has a problem. The public consistently chooses to put its children in public schools, but the Tea Party-dominated General Assembly (legislature) favors privatization. No matter how poorly the charter schools and voucher schools perform, the General Assembly wants more of them. I wonder why? Is is campaign contributions or just hostility to anything public?

A BLOW TO CHURCH-STATE SEPARATION IN MAINE

Court rules for religious schools

The US Supreme Court has ruled that private religious schools should get public tax dollars.

From School Matters
It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court has taken another step to support public funding of religion. It had already been moving that direction with rulings in 2017 and 2020. But today’s decision, in Carson v. Makin, is still a big deal, and it leaves open several questions for the court to address.

The court ruled today that Maine can’t exclude religious schools from a small program that provides tuition vouchers for students in isolated rural areas to attend private secondary schools. Doing so, it said, violates the First Amendments requirement of religious freedom.

“The State pays tuition for certain students at private schools — so long as the schools are not religious,” Chief Justice John Roberts writes for the 6-3 majority. “That is discrimina­tion against religion.”

FATHER'S DAY ADVICE

Father's Day 2022: A Reminder to Read Aloud to Your Children

A year-round gift for Father's Day...

From Live Long and Prosper
Reading aloud is more beneficial than standardized tests or worksheets. It is more important than homework or flashcards. It is the single most important thing a parent can do to help their children become better readers. It is the single most important thing teachers can do to help their students become better readers.
REFERENDUM FOR SACS

Southwest Allen nearing first step toward November referendum

Southwest Allen County Schools asks the taxpayers for support. 

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Southwest Allen County Schools board is preparing to take the initial step toward a November referendum with an estimated $6.4 million spending plan.

The five-member group is expected to act July 12 on a resolution Superintendent Park Ginder introduced Tuesday about extending the most recent operating referendum tax levy fund.

“This resolution is the first step in moving forward and will enable us to draft materials and explain the referendum more thoroughly to our constituents in the coming days and weeks and months,” Ginder said.

SACS last asked voters to approve an operating referendum in 2016. The district plans to ask for the same rate – 15 cents per $100 of assessed value – for the years 2023 to 2030.

Ginder directed the board to a summary of the estimated $6,405,687 spending plan.

NEW TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR FOR FWCS

Fort Wayne Community Schools shifts to new transportation director

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
After eight years of helping navigate busing challenges including budget cuts and driver shortages, Frank Jackson is ready to put the brakes on his career.

Jackson retires as Fort Wayne Community Schools’ transportation director June 30, and his successor has already taken the wheel. Renee Dawson returned to FWCS last month after leading transportation at DeKalb County Central United Schools since 2012. Her salary is $115,008.

Dawson, who previously worked for FWCS in roles including driver and supervisor of driver operations, is thankful for the opportunity.

“It feels good to be back with people that I know and that I can depend on to work for our students and our families,” Dawson said.

**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 every week except holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.
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Monday, June 20, 2022

In Case You Missed It – June 20, 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.
Juneteenth, 2022.

From the Indiana State Museum.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed all enslaved people in the states and areas still active in the Confederacy as of Jan. 1, 1863.

While slaveholders tried to suppress word of emancipation, news moved quickly through the grapevine. This miniature copy of the preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation, part of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, was intended to help Union soldiers spread the word.

Even before the Proclamation, people freed themselves by reaching Union lines or territory, but many had to endure until Union troops arrived and backed the Proclamation with force.

#Juneteenth commemorates one of the last areas to be freed — Galveston, Texas — on June 19, 1865.
THIS WEEK

Articles of local interest cover topics, what parents want, usage of emergency relief funds, and new administrators.

We also report on a case before the Supreme Court and the New York Times praising a company's education plans that are no longer supported.


LOCAL EDUCATION NEWS

Most parents are happy with how their schools are operating ... They need to speak up about that

Local educator Phil Downs, wrote this oped for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Dr. Downs, who taught in FWCS, served as a building level administrator in NACS, and a central office administrator in SACS, is currently the Director of Education Graduate Programs and Accreditation at Trine University.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
On Jan. 6, The Hechinger Report, an education news site, ran a story from the Nevada Independent by Neal Morten and Jackie Valley. The story, entitled “Who wants to lead America’s school districts? Anyone? Anyone?” detailed the rise in superintendent retirements from the typical 15% to 25% in 2021, as well as the difficulty in finding candidates to take their places.

Many in education were hoping that emerging from the pandemic would be a chance to return to the business of helping families educate and raise their children. Many hoped there would be a raised awareness of the economic value public schools provide to their communities. And many hoped for an acknowledgment of the historic efforts teachers made trying to maintain some sense of continuity for children.

Instead, the article shows that headlines of school shootings, politicized social issues and, especially, public scenes of bad behavior at board meetings were what was waiting and are causing many to rethink a career in education.

I see this concern in my students. As demoralizing as these stories have been, we need to note there is some hope buried below the headlines.
FWCS seeks not to waste federal emergency relief funds

FWCS plans how to use its emergency relief funding.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools didn’t rush the budgeting process for its $158 million allocation of federal emergency relief.

The Indiana Department of Education released estimates for the last round of funding last spring, but FWCS was still developing spending plans as of six months ago, said Kathy Friend, FWCS chief financial officer. Shaped by the district’s top leaders and facilities personnel, the budget includes strategies to close educational gaps and upgrade buildings to better serve FWCS should another disease outbreak happen.

Friend said FWCS intends to spend every penny.

“We have a deliberate plan on how that’s going to get done,” she said.

Indiana’s COVID-19 relief school spending dashboard now offers more insight on how districts are using federal dollars meant to help schools prevent, prepare for and respond to the disease. The online resource has included spending categories – instruction, support services, operations and facilities – since late May.

NACS promotes principal to assistant superintendent

NACS, which named a new superintendent recently, promotes middle school principal, Bill Toler, to Assistant Superintendent.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The school board on Monday unanimously promoted Bill Toler from Maple Creek Middle School principal to assistant superintendent effective July 1. Board member Steve Bartkus was absent.

“Glad to have you, Bill,” board President Ron Felger said.

Toler replaces Gloria Shamanoff, who is retiring June 30 after 22 years in the role.

Toler is the second key administrator the board has hired this month. Last week, the five members approved Wayne Barker as superintendent. He will also start July 1.
MAINE PROVIDES VOUCHERS INSTEAD OF PUBLIC SCHOOLS

SCOTUS Takes on Vouchers

America's public schools are doing well, but what happens when a district isn't supported well enough by the state to provide public education for citizens? The US Supreme Court will rule on a plan in Maine where public money is sent to private schools in areas where public schools aren't available.

From Live Long and Prosper
The late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone spoke to the concept of the common good when he said...
That all citizens will be given an equal start through a sound education is one of the most basic, promised rights of our democracy. Our chronic refusal as a nation to guarantee that right for all children, including poor children, is a national disgrace. It is rooted in a kind of moral blindness, or at least a failure of moral imagination, that we do not see that meeting the most basic needs of so many of our children condemns them to lives and futures of frustration, chronic underachievement, poverty, crime and violence. It is a failure which threatens our future as a nation of citizens called to a common purpose, allied with one another in a common enterprise, tied to one another by a common bond. -- 3/31/2000
The primary mission of public schools is not to teach individual students what their parents want them to learn. It’s to prepare the next generation for the task of running our society. It's for the benefit of all of us...the common good.

A CHILD IS MORE THAN A TEST SCORE

A Puff Piece in the “New York Times” for a Failed Education Program

From Diane Ravitch
An economics and business writer at the New York Times named Peter Coy wrote an article titled “This Company Knows How to Increase Test Scores.” The article celebrates a study of a for-profit company called Bridge International Academies (renamed NewGlobe) that operates a large number of schools in Africa. Coy says the study by various American economists finds that the NewGlobe schools produce remarkable test score gains. What he doesn’t say is even more important. Civil society groups from across Africa and elsewhere urged the World Bank to stop investing in for-profit schools. The World Bank announced three months ago that it would no longer invest in the company praised in this article.

Coy begins:
Some of the world’s most successful educational techniques are being applied today in Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda and India, in schools serving poor children that are run or advised by NewGlobe Schools, a company founded by Americans with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. These techniques deserve to be applied more widely, including in wealthy nations such as the United States.
**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 every week except holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.
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Monday, June 13, 2022

In Case You Missed It – June 13, 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

The Uvalde School shooting is still, sadly, in the news. We also cover some local news, vouchers, teacher mental health, and Bill Gates.

SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

Student voices on Uvalde: Our leaders ‘are just not going to protect us’

More children were killed. Will our "leaders" do anything about it this time?

From Chalkbeat*
In their lifetime, there have been thousands of mass shootings, including those in Philadelphia and Chattanooga, Tennessee this past weekend. There have been hundreds of school shootings, too, but no new and significant federal gun control laws. (Bipartisan talks on firearm restrictions are again underway.) Because of pervasive gun violence, students say they have learned to scan every classroom for places to hide from an active shooter, plan out escape routes, and contemplate whether and how they might help stop a shooter in their school.

Some teens say they have become desensitized to news of mass shootings because there’s no time to process one massacre before another occurs. Other students say the American gun violence epidemic keeps them in a constant state of high alert and that they are traumatized and exhausted.

ALLEN COUNTY INDIANA LOCAL

FWCS to honor retired superintendent

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
A Fort Wayne Community Schools facility that supports families and encourages community involvement is becoming a namesake. Going forward, it will honor retired Superintendent Wendy Robinson.

The new name – Wendy Y. Robinson Family and Community Engagement Center – will be unveiled at a ceremony Monday afternoon, the district said Thursday. The downtown facility, 230 E. Douglas Ave., was established under Robinson’s leadership. It opened in 2016.

NACS board officially hires new superintendent

From WANE.com
Northwest Allen County Schools (NACS) on Tuesday officially welcomed a new superintendent.

Wayne Barker will serve the district as superintendent beginning July 1. He has experience in the role from two other districts and has twice been named “Superintendent of the Year.”

“We’re thrilled to bring such a solid superintendent to continue the NACS legacy,” said Dr. Steve Yager, the district’s temporary superintendent. Yager served as the superintendent of NACS for 19 years, returning for the past five months to help the district secure its next leader.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: TEACHER, HEAL THYSELF

NH: Don't Worry, Be Happy

Instead of help, teachers are told to "take care of yourself."

From Curmudgucation
Teachers and parents have heard plenty about self care over the past two years. Now New Hampshire's leaders have decided to make a big fat "fix yourself" PR campaign out of it.

The whole self-care message depends a great deal on context. Self care is a good thing, a practice that everyone should follow in dealing with the stresses and pressures of life.

But when the message comes from the people who have power over that stress and pressure, it takes on a whole new meaning. That meaning is roughly, "You had better take care of your own interests and health because I'm not going to [be] doing a damn thing about it." It comes perilously close to telling a person who's angry at your misbehavior to calm down and stop being so hysterical.

VOUCHERS: OHIO

Ohio: Two of Three Voucher Students Never Attended Public School

Public funds should go to public schools.

From Diane Ravitch
No more nonsense about “saving poor kids from failing public schools.” The voucher program is simply a transfer of public funds to parents who never sent their children to public schools. It’s a giveaway of public dollars to parents whose children are in private schools. And public schools are better than the private religious schools that get public money. The public schools have certified teachers, more advanced classes, a broader curriculum, and extracurricular activities that religious schools do not offer.

BILL GATES AND ACCOUNTABILITY

Message to Bill Gates: Where Is the Accountability?

From Diane Ravitch
This is the third in the series of investigative articles about Washington State’s largest charter chain, written by Ann Dornfeld for Station KUOW in Seattle.

As we have seen over the dozen years, Bill Gates is an accountability hawk. He wants everything measured. He wants teachers and principals to be held accountable, usually by the test scores of their students. He has invested heavily in charter schools. But as Dornfeld shows, the charter schools that Bill Gates created in Washington are accountable to no one.


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

**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 every week except holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.
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