Monday, May 18, 2020

In Case You Missed It – May 18, 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 State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick (fourth from right),
with Indiana public school advocates (and NEIFPE members).

MCCORMICK REJECTS DEVOS'S "GUIDANCE"

The Republicans in Indiana's General Assembly continue to push for the privatization of public education as does U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. They don't much care for the education policies of fellow Republican, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick. To assure that privatization gets even more support the position of the state education leader, along with every member of the State Board of Education will soon be appointed either by the Governor or the majority leaders in both the State Senate and State House of Representatives. The voters of Indiana will no longer have the opportunity to elect any state-level education decision-makers.

Jennifer McCormick, is a public school veteran. As such she is wise enough to disregard the "guidance" of the U.S. Department of Education in the distribution of federal money from the CARES Act. Dr. McCormick has been supporting public education since she took over the job three years ago, while her counterpart in the federal government has done the opposite. Betsy DeVos has no public education experience. She neither attended nor worked in public schools. She was never a public education parent. She has no educational training whatsoever. Fortunately for the students of Indiana, Dr. McCormick has seen to it that the money from the CARES Act will go where it's most needed.

Indiana schools chief stands up to DeVos

From School Matters
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick is taking bold action by rejecting guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and distributing emergency aid for schools the way Congress intended.

It’s remarkable that, thanks to McCormick, Indiana appears to be the first state to openly push back against U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and refuse to follow guidance that it deems to be contrary to the law.

At issue is funding from the CARES Act, which provides $13.2 billion to help schools respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools can use the money to improve technology, protect student health and plan for the next school year.

Indiana rejects guidance from DeVos to reroute more coronavirus relief to private schools

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana is instructing public school districts to ignore controversial guidance from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that would have rerouted millions in federal coronavirus relief money to private schools.

In a memo to school districts dated Tuesday, Republican State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said ignoring the advice means Indiana is following the “intent” of the federal CARES Act — to prioritize schools with high poverty. DeVos’ guidance conflicts with the federal law, said Indiana Department of Education spokesperson Adam Baker.

“The guidance issued by the [U.S.] Department of Education is just that, guidance,” said the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, according to the memo.


McCormick sides with 'Congressional intent' to give public schools priority

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The federal CARES Act provided billions for schools in an education stabilization fund that was to be distributed using the Title I formula – or based on the number of low-income students a school has. Both public and private schools are eligible.

Indiana's K-12 cut is about $215 million.

But Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, released guidance that directed the money be distributed based on total enrollment instead.

That meant Indiana private schools would have seen their share tripled – from $4.9 million to $15.4 million.

DEVOS DOUBLES DOWN ON PRIVATIZATION

Small Things: Secretary DeVos, Twitter and Teachers Vs. Charters

"...a weird way to run a national education system."

From Curmudgucation
...in these exceedingly weird times, I think it's worth highlighting once again that we have a Secretary of Education who is not a supporter of public education or the people who work there, who is, in fact, far more excited about a privately-run system for replacing the institution that she is charged with overseeing. I can't say that it's highly abnormal, because the office has never attracted many people who really support public education, but it's still weird that when public school teachers look up at state and federal authorities, they find people who are lined up against them. It's a weird way to run a national education system.


DOES ANYONE REALLY MISS THE BS (aka Big Standardized) TEST?

Without The Big Standardized Test, Would Schools Be Flying Blind?

If anything, the coronavirus pandemic has confirmed that the standardized testing madness, which has tortured America's students and teachers for the last two+ decades, has been a waste of time and money.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
There is a long list of things that people have in mind when they ask “How is this school doing” that are not addressed by the test.

And what the test does address, it doesn’t address very well. School results can be predicted fairly effectively just by using demographic information, and individual student results take far too long to come back for them to be of any use to classroom teachers.

The notion that parents, teachers and students will have no idea what’s going on in their school unless they can see scores from that one special test is absurd. When students return, teachers will do what they have always done. They will do their own formal and informal assessments of students for quick, on the spot information about where those students are. They won’t be flying blind, and they won’t miss the scores from the Big Standardized Test.

NACS TO HOLD GRADUATION AT FW COLISEUM

Carroll High School to hold in-person commencement at Coliseum

One area high school is planning to hold a graduation ceremony while, at the same time, complying with social distancing standards.

From WANE.com
Carroll High School will hold an in-person graduation later this summer at Memorial Coliseum, according to a letter obtained by WANE 15.

The ceremony will be split into two nights with the first half of the alphabet scheduled for Wednesday, July 8 at 7 p.m. in the main arena of the Coliseum. The second half of the alphabet will be the following night, Thursday, July 9, at 7 p.m.

School officials said they haven’t put a definitive break in where the graduating class will be split as they are limited to the number of graduates they can have on the floor. The number of spectators will also be limited, but the school says breaking the ceremony into two events will allow parents to attend.


REIMAGINING THE POST-PANDEMIC PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Thoughts on Reimagining Public Schools

How do you "reimagine" public education after the coronavirus pandemic?

From Live Long and Prosper
"Just one day earlier, Cuomo had announced a similar partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop 'a smarter education system.' Calling Gates a 'visionary,' Cuomo said the pandemic has created 'a moment in history when we can actually incorporate and advance [Gates’s] ideas … all these buildings, all these physical classrooms — why with all the technology you have?' he asked, apparently rhetorically.

"It has taken some time to gel, but something resembling a coherent Pandemic Shock Doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the 'Screen New Deal.' Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent — and highly profitable — no-touch future." -- Naomi Klein

INDIANA RESIDENTS, GET YOUR VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOTS

Applications for vote-by-mail ballots are due by 11:59 pm May 21, 2020.

You can get forms by phone, email, or directly from the election board web site. For more information click the image below.


*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 has changed its online access and is now 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/

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Monday, May 11, 2020

In Case You Missed It – May 11, 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.


JUST SAY NO TO BILLIONAIRES "REIMAGINING" PUBLIC EDUCATION

Why Bill Gates Is Not The Man To Reimagine New York Education

Having boatloads of money does not mean you have the training or experience to determine public education policy. Billionaires should not have more input into public education than educators, parents and taxpayers.

Peter Greene (Curmudgucation) reminds us that Bill Gates is not a friend to public education.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
It literally took less than an hour for the pushback to start. Governor Andrew Cuomo dismissively questioned why school buildings even exist these days, and announced that he was enlisting Bill Gates to help reimagine education in the Empire State. From a dozen different corners, the objections came.

One day later, Cuomo’s Facebook page attempted to soften the announcement. “Teachers are heroes & nothing could ever replace in-person learning,” the post began, before assuring readers that the reimagining would be done “in full partnership with educators and administrators.” That does not appear to have calmed anybody’s fears.

So what’s the concern?

NY: Cuomo Adds Another Billionaire To His Team to “Reimagine” Education Post-Pandemic

From Diane Ravitch
Reporter Rebecca C. Lewis of “City and State” just tweeted this report:
Cuomo has announced the third billionaire to lead state efforts amid the coronavirus crisis: former Google CEO Eric Schmidt will be focused on new technology utilization. He joins Michael Bloomberg, who’s doing contact tracing, and Bill Gates, who’s doing education
Neither Bill Gates nor Eric Schmidt is an educator. They made their fortune selling software. Selling stuff to schools does not make you an education expert.


INDY PARENTS CHOOSE STABILITY

Fall enrollment slows at Indianapolis charter and choice schools amid coronavirus

Or maybe during this time when we crave stability and normalcy, it’s beginning to dawn on families that the consistency, stability, and dependability of a neighborhood public school is a good thing.

From Chalkbeat*
Throughout Indianapolis, where the school system allows parents to choose where their children attend, enrollment for the next academic year is in upheaval as families and schools grapple with the urgent crises caused by the coronavirus.

There were nearly 15% fewer applications for spots through the city’s enrollment portal, Enroll Indy, compared to last year. Parents’ interest in Indianapolis Public Schools pre-kindergarten dipped significantly, with the number of applications falling by over 35%. In total, there were about 8,000 applications to enroll in new schools for the fall through Enroll Indy, which includes most city charter schools and Indianapolis Public Schools choice schools.

At a time when some families are struggling to pay rent or buy food due to the economic fallout from the virus, and officials are still uncertain whether schools will be able to operate normally in the fall, plans for next year are on the back burner. As a result, families eager for stability may avoid transferring even if they are dissatisfied. That means schools that were already struggling to survive could be further weakened by low enrollment.

PA STATE REP CLAIMS TO KNOW MORE THAN MED EXPERTS

Mike Turzai is Willing to Sacrifice Pennsylvania’s Students and Families to the Economy

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
On Facebook, after a long list of activities that [Turzai] said kids enjoy doing like sports and lab experiments, he said this:

All of those can be done safely, and [kids] are not at risk unless they have an underlying medical issue. The fact of the matter is kids can develop herd immunity, and if you [Rivera] have not yet developed a plan where we can safely educate kids in schools, then you are going to have to rethink education forward…
So there you have it, folks.

Turzai wants Pennsylvania to reopen schools on time whether scientists and health experts think it’s safe or not because – Turzai knows best.

Pennsylvania’s village idiot thinks he knows best about schools.

And as usual he’s as wrong as you can get.


TENN STATE SUPREMES SAY "NO" TO VOUCHERS

BREAKING NEWS: Tennessee Judge Declares Voucher Law Unconstitutional

For updated information on this important court decision, see Tennessee: Details About the Ruling Against Vouchers

From Diane Ravitch
@EdLawCenter: Breaking: Judge declares Tennessee voucher law unconstitutional, enjoins State from implementing program @pfpsorg @splcenter

THE ONLY CERTAINTY IS UNCERTAINTY

Returning to school buildings in the fall will be complicated. In some places, it’s far from clear it will happen.

From Chalkbeat*
When school buildings started to close due to the coronavirus, many teachers and parents thought the disruption would last a few weeks. As the school closures extended, many have clung to the idea that if they made it to fall, life would return to normal.

That’s not looking so certain right now.

Teachers unions are warning that sending educators into crowded buildings without widespread testing for coronavirus will amount to an unacceptable risk. Officials in big city districts are finding that some ideas for keeping students further apart, like running extra bus routes and reducing class sizes, could be expensive at a time when budgets are tight. And worries about a second wave of infections have some wondering what once felt far-fetched: Should students just keep staying home?


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

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Monday, May 4, 2020

In Case You Missed It – May 4, 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.


NETWORK FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION SURVEYS REMOTE LEARNING

Carol Burris on NPE Survey of Emergency Remote Learning

Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher, and NEIFPE member Eileen Doherty was quoted twice in Carol Burris's article in the Washington Post. Diane Ravitch provided a summary.

From Diane Ravitch
In the Midwest, Fort Wayne elementary school teacher Eileen Doherty struggles to teach her inner-city students. She is dismayed by the differences between what her own children who attend a suburban school have when compared with those she teaches.

One mom explained to her why schoolwork was not her first priority: “I am just trying to feed my children.”

...Fort Wayne, Indiana teacher Eileen Doherty told us, “Some of my students wait for their mother to come home so that they can access her phone to do the work. About 20 percent of my students come to my class on Zoom each day, and it is not even the same 20 percent.”

Getting laptops to seniors who need them for credit recovery for graduation has been the first priority in Fort Wayne, she said.

THE EMPHASIS IS ON PRIVATIZATION FROM THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION

Trump Teams Up With Catholic Church For School Vouchers

The President promises money for votes.

From Curmudgucation
US Catholic leadership appears to be all in for Trump, in particular looking to him to provide that all important parent tuition assistance. I suppose that could take the form of an actual taxpayer funded subsidy straight to Catholic school parents, but vouchers or education savings accounts would spread the wealth and better obscure the fact that taxpayers would be subsidizing private schools that are free to discriminate on whatever basis they feel compelled to use. The Catholic Church needs some financial backing for their schools, and they've done very, very well where vouchers are legal.

There's a lot of pretty language, but quid pro quo-- money for votes-- seems to cover it. Nobody here is talking about the value of or cost to public education, nor even about the notion that maybe the government and taxpayers (and not just Trump) might look for some give from the Catholic schools like, say, a little less discrimination. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church would do well to remember that when you mix religion and politics, you get politics. And the politics of Trump is solidly anti-public education.


Secretary DeVos’ Sneaky Effort to Divert Coronavirus Dollars to Virtual Charters and Non-Public Schools

From Diane Ravitch
I earlier posted Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s outspoken criticism of Secretary DeVos for diverting CARES (coronavirus relief) funds to her pet projects (anything but public schools). DeVos wants to liberate America’s students from public schools, despite the fact that the legislation does not authorize her to follow her own wishes. DeVos has this wacky idea that learning online is “student-centered,” when it is not. We already know from experience and research that virtual charter schools are typically the worst schools in every state that has them...

Betsy Uses Relief Funds to Push Vouchers and Online Ed

From Diane Ravitch
Betsy thinks the days of learning in physical buildings are obsolete.

I have often posted the research on virtual charter schools. The 2015 CREDO study showed the abject failure of online charter schools. Their results are abysmal. The most EPIC charter scandals are associated with virtual charters like ECOT in Ohio, now bankrupt, and the A1 chain in California, where 11 people were indicted for the disappearance of more than $50 million in state funds.


TEACHER APPRECIATION WEEK

Jennifer McCormick: Teachers deserve Indiana's appreciation right now

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick, provides the reasons we need to appreciate the State's teachers.

From the Muncie Star Press
With the implementation of protective measures to keep Hoosiers safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented closure of school buildings and a move to remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year signaled drastic changes for May 2020.

However, one thing Hoosiers can count on during this unprecedented time is the dedication of Indiana educators. The same educators who served students every day prior to these challenging times were charged with redefining their roles and operations overnight by establishing innovative ways to connect and support students and their families.

Indiana educators are among the strongest advocates for students and deserve the utmost appreciation and respect. There is no better time to kick off a movement to honor the education profession than during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8. While there will be a celebratory focus through the Indiana Department of Education’s #IndianaLovesTeachers Social Media Campaign, it is important to continue showing educators appreciation through recognition and support. Teachers are true champions as displayed by their commitment to students, families, and communities.

SEE YOU IN SEPTEMBER?

What if students don’t come back? Indiana schools pitch a radical way to protect their budgets

As usual, Bob Behning shows he is not a friend to public school children.

From Chalkbeat*
It’s unclear what school will look like in August, after the coronavirus shut down classrooms across the state through the end of this academic year. But there are growing worries among school officials that the fallout will mean fewer students return. And in a state where funding is doled out per student, a drop in enrollment would mean an immediate financial hit to schools.

Amid the pandemic, fear of contracting the coronavirus could prompt more parents to start homeschooling long-term or transfer to a full-time virtual school. Registration could also be a hurdle. It’s more difficult to recruit families without seeing them in-person, or when they have more pressing priorities, some superintendents said.

“We will have a significant number of families who would want their children to continue to be at home trying to learn remotely,” said Wayne Township Superintendent Jeff Butts. “We already heard some of that.”

In response, school business officials are asking the state to consider freezing districts’ enrollment counts in the fall — a radical new idea. But it seems unlikely to gain traction in a state where the prevailing funding philosophy is having money follow the student.


Will Indiana continue remote learning next fall? Holcomb says a decision may come soon

From Chalkbeat*
Gov. Eric Holcomb could decide within a few weeks whether remote learning will continue next fall, he said in a press conference Monday.

Holcomb already closed all school buildings through the end of the academic year, but has not said what the coronavirus will mean for students over the summer or next fall.

“We are going to get to that decision probably closer to mid-May,” he said. “I want to be the surest and the safest in every step that we take. This isn’t a competition to be first; this is if anything a competition to be the safest.”

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

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Monday, April 27, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Apr 27, 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.


CHARTERS TAKE MONEY AND FAIL -- THIS TIME IN TEXAS

Texas: Charter Schools Grow Rapidly Despite Inferior Performance Compared to Public Schools

Diane Ravitch reports on yet another report showing that charter schools do no better than public schools, and often do worse, while taking unaccountable funds away from the public system.

For an analysis of the Gumbert report see Charter Expansion Grants – Funding Some of the Lowest Performing Schools in Texas.

From Diane Ravitch
William Gumbert prepared a graphic portrayal of the dramatic growth of privately managed charter schools in Texas.

Two facts stand out from his presentation:

1) Charter schools are diverting billions of dollars from the state’s underfunded public schools.

2) Public schools perform better than charter schools.

Public officials are turning public money over to entrepreneurs at a furious pace without regard to the results.

Charter schools this year will take more than $3 Billion away from the state’s public schools, despite the poor performance of the charter schools. Since their inception, charters have diverted more than $23 Billion from the state’s public schools.

Public schools in Texas are underfunded and have been underfunded since 2011, when the state legislature recklessly cut $5.4 Billion from the schools’ budget. That cut was never fully restored.

Diverting money to charter schools adds more damage to the public schools that continue to enroll the vast majority of students in the state.

FW AREA SCHOOLS STEP UP...AGAIN

School systems and individual schools surrounding Fort Wayne, are providing food and supplies to the community.

Supplies from empty EACS elementary classrooms donated to healthcare workers

From WANE.com
Unused sanitary supplies from two East Allen Coutny Schools elementary schools will go to benefit Parkview and Heritage Pointe healthcare workers.

Cartfuls of Lysol wipes and bottles of hand sanitizer donated to elementary school classrooms at the beginning of the school year will finish out the semester helping healthcare workers after a one Leo employee was inspired by a Facebook post.


Schools stepping up to feed students

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools – which offers meals to all children, regardless of the school they attend – generally has served about 5,000 to 6,000 children a day, but demand jumped Monday and Tuesday to about 6,700 to 6,800 students fed, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said. She noted weather can affect turnout...

East Allen County Schools – which provides meals weekly, also to any child in the community – distributed 25,000 breakfasts, 25,000 lunches and 50,000 milk cartons for 5,000 students this week, spokeswoman Tamyra Kelly said...

Southwest Allen County Schools had served a total of 21,533 meals to students as of Wednesday, said Brant Brown, food service director.

DEVOS: STILL HATING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

NAEP Scores Drop in History, Civics: DeVos Blames Public Schools, Not NCLB, RTTT, ESSA, CCSS

As Diane Ravitch has explained many times, the NAEP Proficient level is not the equivalent to grade level achievement. In her book Reign of Error (p. 47 ff), Ravitch wrote, "...a student who is 'proficient' earns a solid A and not less than a B+...'basic' is probably a B or a C student."

The latest scores on the NAEP discussed in this essay have, in nearly all categories, between two-thirds and three-fourths of the students scoring above Basic.

We also know that students who live in poverty score lower than students who have higher incomes, and the latest scores, like the scores in past years and, indeed, the scores from all standardized tests, reflect a low average score because of the high number of low income students in the US.

The problems that cause the apparent low achievement of American students are not poor schools, teachers, or students. The causes are the misunderstanding of test scores, and the high levels of child poverty in the US.

From Diane Ravitch
The National Center for Education Statistics released NAEP scores in history and geography, which declined, and in civics, which were flat.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos went into her customary rant against public schools, but the real culprit is a failed federal policy of high-stakes testing narrowly focused on reading and math. If DeVos were able to produce data to demonstrate that scores on the same tests were rising for the same demographic groups in charter schools and voucher schools, she might be able to make an intelligent point, but all she has is her ideological hatred of public schools.

After nearly 20 years of federal policies of high-stakes testing, punitive accountability, and federal funding of school choice, the results are in. The “reforms” mandated by No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Every Student Succeeds Act, as well as the federally-endorsed (Gates-funded) Common Core, have had no benefit for American students.

Enough!


MA GOVERNOR WANTS KIDS BACK TO TAKE THE BIG TEST

MA: Governor Offers Terrible Reason To Re-open Schools

From Curmudgucation
Well, of all the stupid reasons to re-open schools before summer comes, this offering from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has to be among the worst:
One reason Baker said he wants to see schools reopen before the end of the school year would be so students could take tests to determine how far behind they fell due to the pandemic.
Baker has been an ed reformster since he was elected in 2014, complete with ties to the charter industry and threw his own weight behind the ill-fated, dark-money-financed initiative to raise the charter cap.

So it's not exactly a shock to find him advocating for this idea, which is, I should repeat, really dumb.

DIGITAL DIVIDE MUST BE SOLVED

‘Just as important as I-69 being paved’: McCormick calls on state, not schools, to solve internet access gaps

When schools move online some students are left behind.

From Chalkbeat*
With some Indiana students continuing to do schoolwork on paper while their classmates take part in video conferences with teachers, State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick says the state must make critical investments to ensure all families have internet access.

“This infrastructure is just as important as I-69 being paved,” McCormick said Tuesday in a livestreamed address to the media. “We need to make sure that all citizens have access to the internet. … It’s crippling if as a state we don’t take care of it.”

Without any comprehensive statewide effort to get all students online during the coronavirus crisis, districts have largely been tasked with filling the gaps when it comes to computers and home internet access.


IT WILL TAKE TIME TO RETURN TO NORMAL

Even after Indiana schools reopen, it could take time to get back to normal, McCormick says

From Chalkbeat*
McCormick is advising schools to plan on summer school programs continuing online. All Indiana schools are closed for the rest of the school year under a statewide order, and Hoosiers are under a stay-at-home order through May 1. Gov. Eric Holcomb has indicated that parts of the state’s economy could slowly start to reopen next month.

“We want to be good partners in getting our economy and our businesses back going, but schools [are] a big piece of that wheel to turn,” McCormick said.

LET CHILDREN DIE TO RESTART ECONOMY

You Can’t Have My Students’ Lives to Restart Your Economy

"I'm willing to sacrifice the lives of some of my students for the benefit of the economy," said no teacher...ever.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
It’s okay if a few children die to start up the economy.

That is literally the opinion being offered by media influencers and policymakers as Coronavirus social distancing efforts continue passed the 30-day mark...

Yet there is a concerted effort by the Trump Administration and plutocrats everywhere to get business back up and running. And to do that, they need the schools to reopen so parents can return to work.

They literally want to reopen schools as soon as possible – even if it isn’t 100% safe.

And if that means students, teachers and parents die, at least their sacrifices will have been worth it.

“Schools are a very appetizing opportunity,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz as a guest on Fox News’ Sean Hannity show.


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

**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has changed its online access and is now 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/

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Monday, April 20, 2020

Election prep

NEIFPE member Lucy Hess wrote this op-ed for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette on behalf of the League of Women Voters.

League of Women Voters offers look at candidates in their own words ...

by Lucy Hess
Although the primary election has been delayed by COVID-19, your vote is important and counts. Make your voice heard.

The primary is where voters select the candidates who will be on the ballot in November. Many offices have two or more people running. This is your opportunity to determine who will be the candidate who best fits your concerns, values and issues.

To help voters facilitate information about the candidates, the League of Women Voters is sponsoring VOTE411.org. This site has questions and answers from the candidates concerning issues facing our community. The questions were designed to be thought provoking and open. One of the candidates who filled out the survey shared with us, “The intent of the survey is to provide members with information that matters.”

We invited all candidates to participate, asking them to have their responses back by early April. All responses were entered directly by each candidate into the national nonpartisan website maintained by the League of Women Voters Education Fund. Neither the national nor the Fort Wayne League edited any of the information entered by the candidates.
Read the rest at journalgazette.net/opinion/columns/20200420/election-prep**

**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has changed its online access and is now 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/

πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

In Case You Missed It – Apr 20, 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.


YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

U.S. Department of Education Awards First Round of 2020 Grants in Federal Charter Schools Program

The US Education Department just gave away $65 million in new grants.

From Jan Resseger
The Charter Schools Program grants awarded last week are for Charter Management Organizations to “replicate and expand high-quality charter schools.” There are, of course, a lot of questions about the definition of high quality—questions about hidden screens used by various charter schools to accept the students most likely to fit the school’s expectations, the school’s curriculum, the pedagogical style, the student discipline practices and, of course, the financial practices and management of particular charter chains.

BEWARE PRIVATIZATION

Nancy Bailey: Beware the Vultures!

Privatizers are ready to take over public schools.

From Diane Ravitch
There’s a movement underfoot to end the way children learn. Look carefully at who says “we need to reimagine” or “this is the time to reassess” schools. These can be signals from those who’ve led the charge to dismantle public schools for years. Like vultures, they’re scheming how to use this pandemic to put the final stamp of success on their privatization agenda.


STUDENT TEACHERS MISS END OF SCHOOL

Indiana student teachers were ‘getting their feet under them.’ Then coronavirus hit.

Students are learning from home and teachers are teaching using the internet...but what will happen to student teachers who weren't able to finish their school year?

From Chalkbeat*
Student teachers’ last opportunity to practice leading a class was either cut short or switched to e-learning, where their interactions with students are limited and some projects they had planned are impossible. Meanwhile, coronavirus closures have complicated their path to earning a teaching license and finding a job for the fall — fallout that some worried would worsen the state’s teacher shortage.

“We can’t forget we are in the middle of a huge teacher shortage,” said Angela Mager, the assistant dean of Butler University’s College of Education. “We still need great educators entering the profession, and so getting these highly qualified educators in the field is going to be imperative.”

SCHOOL SYSTEMS IN LIMBO

What happens if coronavirus closures extend into the fall? Indiana schools are already preparing.

How are schools supposed to plan for next year with the possibility of a continuing pandemic?

From Chalkbeat*
When Fort Wayne Schools staffers met with the county health commissioner on March 4, they were told campuses could be forced to close for as long as 28 days to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

“The whole room was aghast at what that would mean for the community,” said Krista Stockman, spokeswoman for the district. But a month later, after statewide school closures were extended for the rest of the academic year and as the pandemic continues to spread in Indiana, she said educators have started grappling with the fact that closures may last much longer.

“We could have a second wave in the fall,” Stockman said. “This could just keep going on, and we may not start in the fall.”


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

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

NEIFPE Endorsement: Kyle Miller for District 81 State Representative

Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education proudly endorses Kyle Miller, Democrat, for State Representative District 81.

A friend of public education, Kyle will advocate for public schools, their teachers, their students, and their communities. He supports:
  • Fully funding public schools
  • Eliminating high stakes testing and finding better options to monitor student achievement and to evaluate teachers and schools
  • Holding private and parochial schools to the same rules of accountability for tax dollars as public schools
  • Paying teachers a livable, professional wage
Born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Kyle Miller understands the issues many Fort Wayne residents face and will fight for his constituents when elected as State Representative for District 81.