Monday, April 15, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Apr 15, 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.


A RICH CELEBRITY WHO SUPPORTS PUBLIC EDUCATION

Ohio: LeBron James’ School Demonstrates that Money and Kindness Matter

From Diane Ravitch
LeBron James is proving that money makes a difference, when it is used wisely, for example, on small class size.

He has created an innovative model within the public system. His school is not a charter. It is a public school. It purposely chooses the kids least likely to succeed.

Ohio presently spends $1 billion on charters, two-thirds of which are rated D or F by the state. Over the years, the state has wasted at least $10 billion on privatization.

Is Ohio capable of learning?

EXPERIENCED TEACHERS KNOW HOW THE PROFESSION HAS CHANGED

Bob Shepherd: Life As a Teacher in the Age of the Deformers

From Diane Ravitch
Basically, in the job as it exists today, I spent so much time doing administrative crap that I had very little time left over for doing my job. I literally spend all day, every Saturday and Sunday, simply completing paperwork. And somewhere in all this I was supposed to do grading. I taught 7 classes, with an average of about 28 students in each. If I assigned a single five-paragraph them, I would have 980 paragraphs to read and comment on—roughly two large novels’ worth of material.

So how did we get to this place? Well, I suppose that over the years, every time some person at the district or state office got a bright idea for improving teaching, it was implemented, and the requirements kept being piled on until they became literally insane. Hey, you know, we’ve got this state program that provides teachers with $70 a year for buying supplies, but we’re not doing a very good job of tracking that, so let’s create a weekly “Whiteboard Marker Usage and Accountability Report (WMUAR). It will only take a few minutes for a teacher to prepare. Great idea! You know how these teachers are. They will just run through markers like crazy unless you monitor this.

JEB BUSH'S LEGACY

Florida: The Graveyard of American Public Education

From Diane Ravitch
Jeb Bush started the descent into the swamp of ignorance. Now the torch is carried by Ron DeSantis, who wants to arm teachers, expand the state’s voucher programs to include middle-class families with income up to $100,000 a year, reduce the power of local school boards so they can’t block new charter schools, and undercut public schools in every way their little minds can imagine.


POLITICS 2020: SANDERS' STAFF TALKS TO RAVITCH

Bernie Sanders’ Staff Called Me to Talk About Education Policy

From Diane Ravitch
Let’s draw a line in the sand. We will not support any candidate for the Democratic nomination unless he or she comes out with strong policy proposals that strengthen public schools, protect the civil rights of all students, curb federal overreach into curriculum and assessment and teacher evaluation, and oppose DeVos-style privatization (vouchers, charters, cybercharters, for-profit charters, home schooling, for-profit higher education).

Silence is not a policy.

INDIANA: MORE CUTS

Indiana schools get a funding boost under Senate budget plan after debate over cuts to poverty aid

Read beyond the headlines. The Indiana Senate is offering to boost the plan offered by the Indiana House...still a cut from previous years.

From Chalkbeat
The proposed cuts would be the latest in a series of reductions that have already lowered poverty aid by 30 percent since 2015. In the past, Indiana relied on whether students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch to measure need. But in 2015, state lawmakers decided to shift to using the number of students who receive food stamps, welfare, or are in foster care. The new measure of need includes a narrower — and poorer — group of students.

VIRTUAL SCHOOLS LOSE MILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS

Indiana paid for thousands of students who never earned credits at virtual charter schools

“The cost of school choice”

From Chalkbeat
Last year nearly 2,000 students never earned a single credit across Indiana’s six virtual charter schools, according to new data — even though most of them were enrolled nearly all year and the schools received funding to educate them.

That works out to almost $10 million in state funding paid to the online schools for students who didn’t complete any work or got failing grades in their classes.

The majority of those students attended Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, two schools at risk of losing their charters amid allegations raised in February by their authorizer that they enrolled thousands of students who did not complete or sign up for courses, among other issues with test administration and serving students with disabilities.


This bill was meant to check virtual schools. Now, lawmakers are watering it down again

There really is something quite wrong with our Hoosier legislature.

From Chalkbeat
Just weeks before the end of the legislative session, some of the stricter regulations on virtual charter schools were removed from a bill that lawmakers promised would rein in the controversial schools.

House education committee members voted 9-0 Monday to amend a Senate bill, further watering it down while folding in measures from a similar bill that would give the schools more power to choose their students.

INDIANA GENERAL ASSEMBLY: NO IDEA IS TOO STUPID

IN: Go Ahead And Shoot Teachers

“No idea too stupid,” seems to be our legislators’ motto.

From Peter Greene in Curmudgucation
When the story first broke that teachers at Meadowlawn Elementary School in Monticello, Indiana had been shot with pellets--execution style--as part of an active shooter drill, I decided not to get in to it here. The sheriff's department had agreed to knock it the hell off, the legislature had already moved to ban the practice, and the whole business was so clearly over the line, so obviously unnecessarily abusive of teachers, so clearly just a stupid thing to do-- well, I figured we'd heard the last of it.

I should have known better.

WILL TENNESSEE FOLLOW INDIANA DOWN THE VOUCHER PIT?

Tennessee: Showdown Over Vouchers

From Diane Ravitch
Governor Bill Lee has proposed a voucher program. Teachers and parents are outraged. —but not enough of them.

When the bill moved from the House to the Senate, the number of vouchers were doubled to 30,000.

The money for vouchers will be subtracted from public schools, which educate 90% of the children of Tennessee. Expect more segregation, more bigotry, more children taught by uncertified teachers, more state-sponsored ignorance of science and history. Expect budget cuts in public schools, larger classes, no money for higher salaries, layoffs for teachers, school nurses, librarians, counselors, the arts.


AN INDIANA HISTORY LESSON

Indiana: Still hating public education after all these years

Read a short, sordid history of Indiana's assaults on Public education and our communities, by our Hoosier legislators and governors.

From Live Long and Prosper
There's an amendment to a bill (SB390) which will require that a maximum of three collective bargaining meetings between school boards and local teachers associations be private. All the rest of the meetings must be held publicly.

The only reason I can see for this amendment is to make things more difficult for the teachers union. There's no research to support the idea that schools with open negotiations meetings save more money than schools which negotiate in private. There's no research to support the idea that this will help teachers teach better, or improve student performance. There is no reason to do this other than to make things more difficult for teachers.

Where is the corresponding legislation to require the same public meeting policy for administrators' salaries? legislature staff salaries? state department of health workers salaries?

UPDATE April 11, 7 PM ET: This afternoon the Indiana House of Representatives passed this bill into law. My state representative voted for it.

TESTING, STILL OVERUSED AND MISUSED

Is Your School Year Over Already?

How much does all this testing rob from your child?

From Peter Greene in Forbes
High stakes tests have become the educational equivalent of the office where nobody can get their work done because they're constantly attending meetings to give progress reports on the work they're not getting done. High stakes testing have effectively, drastically, shortened the school year, not just by the week or two required to give the test, but by all the weeks used to get ready for it. Simply abolishing the test, or even removing all stakes from it, would instantly improve education in this country because it would instantly lengthen the school year by weeks.

CHARTER SCHOOL SCANDALS

Charter School Sector Swindles the Public, Burns Tax Dollars, and Cheats Children—Part 1

Charter School Sector Swindles the Public, Burns Tax Dollars, and Cheats Children—Part 2

From Jan Resseger
Many of us have been aware of problems with charter schools for a long, long time. For over two years now, the Network for Public Education has been logging reports in local newspapers when an entrepreneur is caught stealing tax dollars; or when a state, a school district or charter authorizer finally shuts down a charter school for academic malpractice; or when a charter school goes broke mid-school year leaving children without a school mid-semester.

But the past month has produced an uptick in reports of large scale charter school ripoffs and charter school failure.


Houston: Charter School Superintendent and IT Specialist Charged with Embezzlement

From Diane Ravitch
The superintendent of a Houston charter school and a school employee have been charged with embezzling more than $250,000 from the school’s bank account.

LACK OF TRANSPARENCY FROM US.ED.

Jeff Bryant: What is the U.S. Department of Education Hiding?

From Diane Ravitch
1. Can you provide a similar document describing how the grant review process is currently being conducted for the Charter Schools Program Grants to State Entities?

2. If not, can you briefly comment on how the grant review process used for the Charter Schools Program Grants to State Entities aligns with or varies from the Overview referenced above?

3. Regarding a “Dear Colleague” letter sent to State Education Agencies in 2015 emphasizing the importance of financial accountability for charter schools receiving federal dollars, was there any follow-up by the Charter School Program to ascertain how many SEAs complied with this request and what was the nature of the new systems and processes put into place by SEAs to provide for greater accountability?


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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #336 – April 12, 2019

Dear Friends,

Attention all who support public education!

You are invited to a rally in support of better funding for K-12 education. We need you!
When: Tuesday, April 16, 2019, 3:00 pm

Where: Indiana Statehouse South Atrium

Coordinated by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education

Event partners: AFT Indiana, Concerned Clergy, Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), Indiana Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

Everyone is encouraged to join us!
Stand up for public education! Let legislators know you care about K-12 funding in the two-year budget.

Raise the Priority in Support of K-12 Funding

We need your presence to put top priority on better funding for our K-12 students in the new budget.

Here’s the picture:
  • In January, the Governor recommended K-12 increases of 2% in the first year ($143 million) and 2% in the second year ($146 million).
  • In February, the House recommended K-12 increases of 2.1% in the first year ($154 million) and 2.2% in the second year ($160 million).
  • Yesterday, April 12, the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Mishler, recommended K-12 increases of 2.7% in the first year ($192 million) and 2.2% in the second year ($162 million).
  • The Indiana Coalition for Public Education and other public education advocates have recommended K-12 increases of 3% in the first year ($210 million) and 3% in the second year ($230 million).
  • Indiana K-12 students and teachers deserve more financial support to maintain strong student programs and to keep strong teachers from leaving the state or changing careers.
There is no guarantee that the final budget will include the better numbers from the Senate.
  • The House and Senate now have to negotiate their differences in a conference committee.
  • If they simply split the difference, our K-12 students could lose support.
  • The Senate budget deleted the 70% voucher which cost $19 million, but the House will likely try to put it back in.
  • The Senate budget deleted the $47 million expansion of charter school grants, but the House will likely want to revive it.
  • The Senate expanded tax credits for private school scholarships by $3 million over 2 years, while the House expanded them by $5 million. We don’t need any expansion of tax credits for private schools! They are already funded at $14 million each year.
We need you on April 16th to help send a message: Our K-12 students and teachers need even more support than the Senate version!

The members of the General Assembly need to hear from you the parents, the taxpayers and the educators of Indiana about supporting better K-12 funding.

Will you join us? Will you bring friends and family? Will you wear red for public ed?

The rally will feature a welcome by Dr. Jennifer McCormick, our last elected State Superintendent of Public Education. Key speakers representing our partner groups will follow. The moderator will be Joel Hand, the Indiana Coalition for Public Education attorney and lobbyist.

Make plans now to join us next Tuesday April 16th to support our K-12 students.

A printable flyer for you to share with friends, family and colleagues is available at the ICPE website:

www.icpe2011.com

Please pass the word!

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support the ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand represented ICPE extremely well during the 2018 session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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Monday, April 8, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Apr 8, 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.


THINK ABOUT THIS

Have We Stolen A Generation's Independent Thought?

We're teaching students not to think...and standardized tests are part of the problem.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
"Kids these days," the complaint begins. "They cannot think for themselves." The complaint has come across my desk three times this week, voiced by someone in the higher education world complaining about the quality of student arriving in their ivy-covered halls.

It's worth noting that the observation itself has no particular objective, evidence-based support. There's no college student independent thought index we can consult to check for a dip. Just the subjective judgment of some people who work at the college level. So the whole business could simply be the time-honored dismay of an older generation contemplating the younger one.

ALEC STRIKES AGAIN

Bombshell Report About Copycat Legislation Written by ALEC but Adopted by Your State

From Diane Ravitch
ALEC and corporate America are churning out legislation that is introduced in your state under false pretenses as “reform.” Every one of these bills is meant to protect corporations and profiteers, whether in health care or any other industry.

You may have noticed a sudden mushrooming of voucher legislation in state after state. It was not written by your legislators. It was written by the rightwing corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC.

Not only is ALEC funded by corporations, it is funded by the DeVos family and the Koch brothers.

Need to learn more about ALEC? 

Bill Moyers: The United States of ALEC



ALEC Exposed

ALEC & Education

INDIANA FOSTER CHILDREN

Indiana foster children are less likely to graduate, more likely to be suspended, a new report shows

It would be nice if on seeing a report like this if our Hoosier legislators would make it a mission to support public schools so that they’d have the resources to support these children. Instead, the General Assembly would rather give to charters and vouchers who don’t have to accept or keep children who need intense support.

From Chalkbeat
Indiana now has its first look at how well the state is educating the 9,000 school-age children in foster care, and the findings are discouraging. Foster children are more likely than their peers to attend underperforming schools, and only 64 percent graduate from high school.

INDIANA TEACHER LICENSING

Indiana could scrap test seen as a barrier to training more teachers of color

Of course we need more teachers of color in Indiana! And we also need a way to vet qualified candidates for teachers. This test just is not it.

From Chalkbeat
A panel of Indiana House lawmakers took steps to get rid of a teacher preparation test that some educators say keeps teachers of color out of the classroom.

The House Education Committee unanimously voted on Wednesday to remove the state requirement that students pass the basic reading, writing, and math skills test known as “CASA” as freshmen or sophomores before they enter college teacher preparation programs. The provision was added to a bill that would change some rules about alternative teacher licenses, which passed the committee unanimously as well.


INDIANA SCHOOL FUNDING FALLS SHORT

Ongoing neglect hits rural schools hardest

From Southwest Allen County Schools Superintendent, Phil Downs, in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
If Indiana is to pursue the noble goal of funding all its children's educations, it should do that. Since the voucher program began in 2011, no additional money has been added to the budget to fund the vouchers, and the program has created a de facto final step in the school funding process which is hurting most communities in Indiana.

Funding falls short on effort, fairness

From School Matters
Indiana’s highest-poverty school districts spend only 65 percent of what’s needed for their students to achieve modest academic success, according to a new education finance report from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education and the Albert Shanker Institute.

Is it because we can’t afford to do better? Not at all. Indiana is near the bottom of the states when it comes to funding “effort,” the percentage of gross state product spent on schools.

It’s more compelling evidence that state legislators should be thinking a lot bigger as they decide how much of the two-year state budget to spend on K-12 education.

State blamed as teacher pay stalls

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Most seem to agree that Indiana teachers don't get paid enough.

But the disconnect comes in where the blame lies. Is the legislature not providing enough money? Or are school districts spending too much on administration and too little on teacher salaries?


CHARTER MIDDLE SCHOOLS NO HELP

Federal study finds charter middle schools didn’t help students earn college degrees

So why are we allowing our legislators to misuse our tax dollars to support charters?

From Chalkbeat
Attending a sought-after charter middle school didn’t increase a student’s chance of attending or graduating college, a new U.S. Department of Education study showed.

The report, released Monday, also found little connection between charter school quality, as measured by test scores, and college outcomes.

“The overall conclusion that there is little difference between charter schools and non-charter schools is not shocking to me,” said Sarah Cohodes, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College. She pointed to prior research showing charters perform comparably to district schools nearby.

A VIRTUAL MESS -- PAID FOR WITH YOUR TAX DOLLARS

Indiana: Virtual School Scams Taxpayers and Students

From Diane Ravitch
In every state that has authorized virtual charter schools, these schools are marked by two characteristics:

1. They are very profitable.

2. The “education” they provide is abysmal.

Typically, they have high attrition, low graduation rates, and low scores on state tests. The state fails to monitor them for quality. Students and taxpayers are fleeced.


Some parents say getting help was like ‘pulling teeth’ as troubled Indiana virtual schools grew

From Chalkbeat
Morrice’s portrayal, which he documented in a complaint to the state education department two years ago, lines up with some accusations leveled against the 8-year-old online school and its sister school by its authorizer last month: that thousands of students for whom the schools received millions of dollars in state funding didn’t complete or sign up for classes. The schools say the allegations, which could lead to the revocation of their charters and eventually their closure, are false and based on incomplete information.

Some virtual school students and parents who spoke with Chalkbeat also echoed Morrice’s description of how the school often didn’t give students enough attention, including not returning phone calls and emails. The parents and students said they struggled to get teachers and school staff to communicate, transfer records, provide educational advice, or ensure credits were processed.

INDIANA VOTERS LOSE A VOICE

Hoosiers lose direct say over state school chief

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
House Bill 1005 was signed by the Indiana Senate president pro tem on April Fool's Day and quickly moved to Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk. With his signature Wednesday, the governor claimed appointment authority for the state superintendent of public instruction.

Holcomb scores a victory for his Next Level Agenda, which called for removing the post from statewide ballots. State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick cleared the way to move up the 2025 appointment date when she announced last October that she would not seek reelection. But she also suggested there were behind-the-scenes efforts to do so regardless of her plans.


Who pushed appointed-superintendent law?

From School Matters
McCormick, a Republican, was elected in 2016 after a campaign in which she received a lot of support from advocates for charter schools and vouchers, including the Chamber of Commerce and, especially, the advocacy group Hoosiers for Quality Education. But the former Yorktown, Indiana, school superintendent turned out to be a forceful and effective advocate for public schools.

You can imagine that some of her backers were disappointed and wanted her out, sooner rather than later.

DEVOS CONTINUES TO DO DAMAGE TO PUBLIC EDUCATION

The Special Olympics funding outcry is over, but it’s been crickets over some of DeVos’s other proposed education budget cuts. Think civics, history, arts...

From the Answer Sheet
The Trump administration has proposed eliminating a $4.8 million program to enhance American civics and history education. It has also called for making these cuts that would eliminate programs:

• $1.2 billion for programs that help boost student academic achievement before and after school and during the summer.

• $190 million to boost literacy instruction from birth to age 20...

• $27 million for arts education programs for children from low-income families and students with disabilities.

• $10 million to boost community schools...

• More than $207 billion over 10 years from student loan programs...

DeVos, Class Size, and the Reformistan Bubble

From Curmudgucation
...The shock and scandal and outrage is not that DeVos would offer up this class size bullshit on the Hill, but that she stands on top of a whole pile of educational amateurs who have been pushing this bullshit for at least a decade, despite the mountain of evidence and the actual teachers who speak against it.


Why I was Shaking My Head at Betsy DeVos

From Living in Dialogue
I can only shake my head in disbelief.

The problem for DeVos is that there is ample research that shows just the opposite – that class size matters very much. My friend Leonie Haimson has worked for years with a group called Class Size Matters, and they provide here a set of studies supporting this..

Another friend, Nancy Flanagan, attributes the source of the idea that larger classes are just fine to every billionaire’s favorite education researcher, Eric Hanushek. Way back in 1998, Hanushek suggested there was no real value in reducing class sizes– using test scores, of course. In 2011, Bill Gates urged policymakers to stop worrying about class size.

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #335 – April 1, 2019

Dear Friends,

Make plans now to come to a Statehouse rally for better K-12 funding on Tuesday, April 16th at 3:00pm!

Mark your calendars!

Look for details and a printable flier about the rally on the Indiana Coalition for Public Education website: www.icpe2011.com.

_______________

As we await the Senate budget, the crucial question remains: Will the Senate provide additional K-12 funding?

Where Could the Senate Find $70 Million More Money for K-12 Funding?

The teacher pay crisis is a fight to retain our strong teachers. During this crisis, Indiana does not need to expand vouchers or privatization programs.

The House budget used $70 million over two years to expand three voucher and charter school programs.

Contact your Senators to tell them that this $70 million should all be transferred to the tuition support budget to focus on the General Assembly’s stated priority: funding better pay for all teachers.

The goal is to improve the House budget to put more money into K-12 tuition support, the budget line that funds teacher salaries and all general expenses. The House budget raised tuition support by 2.1% in the first year of the budget and by 2.2% in the second year. ICPE and other groups have called for at least a 3% increase each year.

Transferring this $70 million to tuition support would help reach that goal.

Let Senators know that these three programs can be abandoned in favor of helping teachers get more pay in Indiana:

Program 1: The new 70% voucher expansion costs an extra $19 million.
  • The historic legislative fight in 2011 over the original voucher bill established a 90% voucher for families of four currently making $46,000 or less. This means that 90% of the per student support for a public school student goes to the parent to pay for private school tuition.
  • A 50% voucher was established for families of four currently making $69,000.
  • Now, for the first time in the eight year history of vouchers, the House wants to give $19 million more money for a new concept: a 70% voucher to families of four making between $46,000 and $57,500, while families between $57,500 and $69,000 would still receive a 50% voucher from Indiana taxpayers.
  • This would probably not add many students to the voucher count but would give significantly more money to the parents making between $46,000 and $57,000 who already have students in the voucher program.
  • The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency says the newly proposed 70% voucher would cost an extra $7.7 million in the first year of the budget.
  • It would cost $11.3 million in the second year.
  • Adding these two years together, this newly proposed 70% voucher would cost $19 million.
  • The 70% voucher was not debated in any bill but just appeared in the budget. The secrecy of how this concept appeared is stunning. In eight years, it has never before been proposed.
  • Giving more money to voucher parents is not the General Assembly’s stated priority. No case was made that this 70% voucher solves any problem. It received no debate or public review. It was a total surprise when it showed up in the budget. This program would undercut the priority on more money for teacher pay.
Program 2: The expansion of private school scholarships raised by Scholarship Granting Organizations costs an extra $4 million.
  • In 2009, the General Assembly budgeted $2.5 million of taxpayer funds to pay 50% back to donors giving to private school scholarships through a tax credit. It was the first state money ever given to pay tuition to private K-12 schools.
  • This year the House budget raises the tax credit funding by $1 million in the first year, from $14 million to $15 million.
  • In the second year, the House budget raises funding to $16 million or by 120% of what the scholarship granting organizations (SGO’s) actually raise, whichever is more. Applying the 120% figure to $15 million means that in the second year of the budget, taxpayers could pay out $18 million for private school scholarships. $18 million would match what has been budgeted for summer school for all of Indiana for many years.
  • This automatic escalator has been proposed twice before by the House and must be defeated.
  • The school scholarship tax credit is the most generous tax credit to donors in Indiana. It gives 50% back to donors when they file their taxes with no individual limit. The 2013 voucher expansion law said that any student getting a tax credit scholarship one year could get a state voucher scholarship the next year (Choice Scholarship). This has been the mechanism for allowing students who have never been in public schools to get a voucher, a figure that has risen to 58% of all voucher students.
Program 3: The expansion of the Charter School Grants program costs $47 million.
  • Again, the stated priority of the General Assembly is to provide funds to improve teacher pay, not to give more money to charter schools. Charter schools are funded by the tuition support line item that needs to get bigger for all schools.
  • The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency says the expansion of charter school grants would cost an extra $21 million in the first year of the budget.
  • It would cost an extra $26 million in the second year.
  • Adding these two years together, the proposed expansion of charter school grants would cost $47 million.
Three non-crisis programs costing $70 million!

Senators need to hear from you on these three programs. They undermine the stated goal of funding better teacher salaries and benefits to keep talented teachers from going to other states or other careers for better pay.


The Senate School Funding Subcommittee Hearing

A long public hearing was held on Thursday, March 14 allowing citizens to speak about the K-12 budget. An impressive number of teachers from all over Indiana showed up to speak about the low funding they have seen in their school district and how that has impacted their teaching and how it has hurt colleagues who have had to leave the profession due to financial hardships. The totality of the hearing for the Senators who were listening was that the teacher shortage in Indiana will only get worse until significant dollars are invested in the K-12 tuition support formula.

A similar loud message was delivered on March 9th in an impressive Statehouse rally organized by the Indiana State Teachers Association. The call for better funding has been effectively delivered, but the response by the Senate is still unknown.

The tuition support funding issue has followed this sequence in the expectations dance:
  • In November, Speaker Bosma predicted that a tight budget would mean at most a 0.7% funding increase for K-12.
  • In January, Governor Holcomb recommended a 2.0% increase each year of the budget. In addition, he called for pension payments to be taken from the surplus to give school districts about $70 million each of the next two years to be available for teacher pay increases.
  • In February, the House budget gave a 2.1% increase for the first year and a 2.2% increase in the second year, along with the pension money payments worth. they say now, $150 over two years.
  • On March 9, an impressive teacher rally attracting about 2000 on a rainy day gave notice that the House budget was insufficient to correct the teacher pay problems.
  • On March 14, the public hearing of the School Funding Subcommittee attracted not only public education organizations, such as the Indiana Coalition for Public Education (ICPE) asking for a 3.0% increase each year, but an impressive number of individual teachers and parents from Gibson County to Steuben County independently asking for better K-12 funding, a dimension that has not been seen in previous budget years.
I hope you will get involved in asking Senators for a 3% increase in K-12 funding.

Then later, members of the House need to get the same message to put a 3% increase in the budget for K-12 funding.

Good luck in your efforts! Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support the ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand represented ICPE extremely well during the 2018 session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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In Case You Missed It – Apr 1, 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.


VIRTUAL PRESCHOOL FOR N. CAROLINA

The latest ‘shockingly bad’ education idea in North Carolina

Upstart is already running in Indiana.

From the Answer Sheet
...It’s the latest shockingly bad idea out of North Carolina.

This week state legislators filed a bill which would create a three-year year pilot program to deliver pre-kindergarten education at home via computer to what it terms “at risk” children.

The program, called UpStart, would cost a mere $500,000 per year. It would be available to families living below the federal poverty line and children of active duty military personnel and would provide both Internet access at home to families that can’t afford it and technical support to help them operate the software...

I can’t believe I am actually writing these words, but the idea of having 4-year-olds going to preschool by looking at a computer in their home is horrendous...

VOUCHERS

Voucher myths

School Voucher Advocates Peddle Lots Of Myths. Six Of Them Are Debunked Here.

From Americans United
Voucher advocates rely on a number of fallacious arguments. Here are six of the most common ones debunked...

People who send their children to private schools are taxed twice, once to pay for public schools and once for the private school tuition they pay.
Private school tuition is not a tax; it’s an extra expense some people have chosen to bear. You don’t get a tax break because you’ve chosen to patronize a private provider for a service the government makes available. If that were the case, people could demand tax breaks because they buy books from Amazon and don't use the public library, because they built their own swimming pool and don’t go to the municipal one or because they own a car and don’t rely on mass transit. There are certain public services we are all expected to support, even if we don’t use them directly. An educated citizenry benefits us all. That’s why most of us pay taxes to support public schools, including people who don’t have children and people whose children are no longer in school...

Voucher school condemned

Muncie, Indiana: Voucher School for 6 Students Condemned, Deplorable Conditions

From Diane Ravitch
Fire and building inspectors condemned the Delaware Christian Academy after entering the building and finding its six students huddled around a heater for warmth. Betsy DeVos always says that parents always know best, but why did these parents send their children to school in an unsafe building?

”Fire and building inspectors say they found six students at the private Delaware Christian Academy “huddled around a kerosene heater in blankets trying to stay warm” one morning last week.

“Authorities ordered the building — the former Riley Elementary School on North Walnut Street — to be vacated. The children’s teacher took them home.

“Meanwhile, the city building commissioner on Wednesday condemned the structure, finding it unsafe for occupancy.


BETSY DEVOS

DeVos is the worst of a bad lot.

The miseducation of Betsy DeVos, the Cabinet's worst

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Picking on the Special Olympics is minor stuff for DeVos. She's an education hobbyist. Neither she nor her children ever attended a public school, but this doesn't stop DeVos from thinking she knows the answers. She's a longtime advocate of taking taxpayer money out of the public system to support charter and religious schools.

But it's when it comes to college that DeVos really earns her dubious honor. Helping students who racked up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans attending for-profit colleges that lured them in with phony come-ons and job placement statistics?

Not on DeVos' watch. The Education Department stalled rules intended to make it easier for these people to receive relief...

DeVos wants to allow discrimination

DeVos, testifying before Congress, refuses to say whether schools should be allowed to discriminate on basis of sexual orientation or gender identity

From the Answer Sheet
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was asked repeatedly Tuesday by a member of Congress whether she believes schools should be allowed to discriminate against students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. She did not directly answer.

DeVos and her bad record.

Betsy DeVos and her No Good, Very Bad Record on Public Education

From Education Votes
As President Donald Trump’s secretary of education, Betsy DeVos has worked to subvert public education. She has promoted the privatization of public schools through vouchers, called for deep cuts to federal funding, rolled back protections for vulnerable children, and shilled for the for-profit college industry that has defrauded countless students.

SCHOOL FUNDING

IPS set to lose millions because of pro-privatizer legislation.

IPS sees ‘tremendous market’ for Broad Ripple. First, it needs changes to the law.

“When worlds collide” -- Hoosier legislators would have to give up their 1 dollar give-aways to charter schools in order to serve the business community. Meanwhile IPS students and public schools lose.

From Chalkbeat
Indianapolis Public Schools offered a comprehensive analysis Tuesday, showing strong demand for housing, retail, and office development on the 16-acre site of the closed Broad Ripple High School. But before the district can sell the property on the open market — instead of offering it up to a charter school — it needs the support of state lawmakers.

The future of the Broad Ripple campus has been in limbo for more than a year. That’s when the Indianapolis Public Schools board voted to close that high school and two others because of low district enrollment. The building, which is situated in a thriving and rapidly developing area, is one of the district’s most valuable assets and leaders see it as a potential source of revenue for the cash-strapped school system.

At the time it closed the schools, Indianapolis Public Schools estimated the value of Broad Ripple at $6 million to $8 million, but a district official said that it is based on old analysis and it could fetch more.

The district’s options for selling the property, however, are limited by a state law that requires school districts to make vacant buildings available to charter schools for $1. In order to sell the building to a private buyer, the district would need legislators to amend that law.


Legislature has failed to fund public schools

Time to end public-school funding games

From NEIFPE member Terry Springer
For a decade, legislators have pulled out support for public education. Legislators have failed to fund public schools adequately. They have taken more and more money from the education coffer for vouchers and thus funded religious education with public dollars. They favor private and parochial parents with tax credits not given to public school parents and fail to require transparency of private, parochial schools. They require public schools to do more with fewer resources. They promote privatization though evidence shows for-profit charters and virtual schools fail students and fail as businesses.

As bills in the 2019 session move from committees to the full House and Senate, legislators continue to remove the blocks from the public education tower

Legislature fails schools.

Lakeland School Corp. votes to close 2 elementary schools

From WANE.com
The Lakeland School Corporation will be going from five schools to three, closing down two elementary school sat the end of this year. The school board voted Monday 4-2 in favor of closing the schools.

There is currently one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools in the district. With declining enrollment, Lakeland leadership said they are expecting an operating loss of nearly $700,000 this year and $900,000 next year. The three-school proposal would save them $1.28 million by the end of 2020. Most of that savings will come from cutting staff.

"CHOICE" DOESN'T YIELD POSITIVE RESULTS

Bad week for ‘school choice’

From School Matters
Last week was a bad one for the claim that school choice can cure whatever ails education in Indiana. Choice doesn’t always lead to good outcomes.

Start with the story of Delaware Christian Academy in Muncie. Although the school has received $1.3 million in state voucher funding over five years, enrollment dwindled to six students. The building was condemned after an inspector found students “huddled around a kerosene heater in blankets.”

Then look to Indianapolis Lighthouse East...

STORIES ABOUT CHARTERS

Politics

Beto O’Rourke’s Wife Works for an Organization that Brings Charter Schools to El Paso

From Diane Ravitch
I was an enthusiastic supporter of Beto O’Rourke when he ran against Ted Cruz. I regularly sent him checks of $50, $100. I would have loved to see Beto beat Cruz. I heard that Beto’s wife Amy was connected to the charter school movement but decided that was less important than beating Cruz.

Now that Beto is running for President, it matters more. I don’t want another Democratic President pushing privatization of public schools and public money.

i won’t support any candidate who supports charters and/or vouchers...


Charter waste and fraud

Report: The Department Of Education Has Spent $1 Billion On Charter School Waste And Fraud

From Peter Greene (Curmudgucation) in Forbes
In 1994, the Charter School Fund was added to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); in 1995 it began dispersing federal funds to states so that states could use the money to pilot charter schools. Since then, the CSP has handed over about $4 billion to support charter schools, and there are supposed to be some federal guidelines attached to the process. But a new report from the Network for Public Education charges that roughly $1 billion of that has been lost to fraud and waste in the charter school sector. Findings of the report were brought to the attention of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos during this week's hearings; her responses were not encouraging.

Report: U.S. government wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools and still fails to adequately monitor grants

Also: see Diane RavitchBombshell Report: Congress Wastes Nearly $1 Billion on Defunct Charter Schools

From the Answer Sheet
The U.S. government has wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools that never opened, or opened and then closed because of mismanagement and other reasons, according to a report from an education advocacy group. The study also says the U.S. Education Department does not adequately monitor how its grant money is spent.

The report, titled “Asleep at the Wheel” and issued by the nonprofit advocacy group Network for Public Education, says:

• More than 1,000 grants were given to schools that never opened, or later closed because of mismanagement, poor performance, lack of enrollment or fraud. “Of the schools awarded grants directly from the department between 2009 and 2016, nearly one in four either never opened or shut its doors,” it says...

Charter teacher's salary a "vow of poverty"

This Indianapolis teacher said he shouldn’t have to take a ‘vow of poverty’ to stay in the classroom

Even the charter teachers are bailing. Did this teacher not understand that part of the reason teachers are paid so poorly is because our legislators would rather divert funds to charters and vouchers than fully fund public schools which accept all students? You can not split up the pot 3 ways and serve children or pay teachers well. Voters must make our legislators understand this simple math.

From Chalkbeat
His teacher’s salary was already stretched precariously thin to pay rent when Andrew Pillow learned that his school was setting a pencil quota to save money: only one box of pencils per quarter.

But pencils were always disappearing. Pillow, who teaches at KIPP Indy College Prep Middle School in Indianapolis, found himself taking twice-weekly trips to the store to buy enough pencils for his students. Where on earth were they going?

Well, he eventually found out — but not before experiencing the utter humiliation of not having enough money to pay his share of the bill on a first date.

It’s funny now, Pillow said, but then … Not so much. Teachers shouldn’t have to take a vow of poverty to stay in their careers, he said.

Charters on the defensive

Indiana virtual schools granted extra time to defend themselves against troubling allegations

All this mess created by Hoosier legislators! Time to stop using our tax dollars on charters!

From Chalkbeat
The authorizer of two virtual schools accused of mismanaging state tests, student enrollment, and special education services voted Monday night to give the schools more time to defend themselves — even after they missed a key deadline for submitting a written explanation.

The Daleville public school board, the authorizer for Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, voted unanimously to push back the public hearing about whether the schools’ charters should be revoked, which could lead to their closure.


Taxpayers still paying for closed charters

Philadelphia: It Takes Years and Millions to Close Failing Charter Schools and the Public Pays for Everything

From Diane Ravitch
Lisa Haver, Parent Activist in Philadelphia, writes here about how it takes years and millions of dollars to close failing charter schools. The public must pay the cost of challenging the charter and pay the cost of defending the charter. The charter operator gets a free ride for failing. Only the taxpayers and students lose.

Why is it easy to close a public school but hard to close a charter school? One guess: charter lobbyists wrote the state law.

Ohio charters fail, and then ask for more money.

Dyer: Ohio’s Failing Charter Sector Wants a 22% Funding Increase

From Diane Ravitch
In Ohio, most charter schools are graded either D or F by the state. This very low-performing sector costs Ohio taxpayers nearly $1 Billion per year.

Now the charters want a 22% increase in funding.

Stephen Dyer explains here why they should get no increase at all.

COMPETITION MAKES WINNERS AND LOSERS

Tony Thurmond: “Without Public Schools, I Might Not Be State Superintendent Today”

From Diane Ravitch
“Here’s my concern: you cannot open charter schools and new schools to serve every single student in our state,” he continued. “If you take the competition approach, that means some students, a lot of students, will be left behind. And again, I don’t believe that that’s what our mission is. I believe that the promise that we make to each other in society is to provide opportunity to get an education, to live a better life, to be able to acquire what you want through your hard work for yourself and your family. So for me that means that competition is OK in some environments, but when it comes to education we’ve got a responsibility to make sure that every single student gets an education.”


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Friday, March 29, 2019

Time to end public-school funding games

This op-ed by NEIFPE co-founder Terry Springer appeared in the March 29 edition of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Time to end public-school funding games
Remember Jenga, the game in which wooden blocks are first carefully stacked in alternating layers to create a sturdy tower then removed one by one until the tower collapses? The GOP-led legislature has been playing Jenga with public education since 2009.

For a decade, legislators have pulled out support for public education. Legislators have failed to fund public schools adequately. They have taken more and more money from the education coffer for vouchers and thus funded religious education with public dollars. They favor private and parochial parents with tax credits not given to public school parents and fail to require transparency of private, parochial schools. They require public schools to do more with fewer resources. They promote privatization though evidence shows for-profit charters and virtual schools fail students and fail as businesses.

As bills in the 2019 session move from committees to the full House and Senate, legislators continue to remove the blocks from the public education tower:

• Budgeting only a 2 percent increase for education (no real increase when adjusted for inflation and actually a decrease in per-pupil funding).

• Cutting $100 million from the complexity formula providing funds to help our neediest children.

• Voting against the proposal to increase teacher pay despite a growing teacher shortage.

• Expanding vouchers and allowing public dollars to pay for religious education.

• Failing to prohibit voucher-accepting schools from discriminating on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.

• Doubling grants to charter schools to pay for building, technology and transportation.

• Failing to require education experience as a qualification for an appointed secretary of education.

Public education serves the whole community and all children. It is a public good, mandated by the state constitution. A good school district is an asset to a community, to property values and to growth of business.

Of the 1.1 million children enrolled in Indiana in 2018, 94 percent attend public schools. All of their public schools – rural, urban and suburban – are affected by this legislation; all are losing funding. Public schools, even those in the most affluent neighborhoods, are struggling to maintain programs, buildings and transportation as well as attract qualified staff.

In Jenga, the game ends when the tower falls. If we continue to allow the legislature to pull support from public schools, what happens when the education tower falls and districts cannot maintain buildings, supply classrooms materials, and attract good teachers? What happens to our kids?

There are not enough seats in private, parochial schools for a million children. And as school choice has demonstrated, those schools choose which students they accept. So where will we send our kids to school? If a school fails, what happens to property values in that neighborhood? What happens to businesses? What happens to communities?

Jenga is a game; public education is not. The Jenga tower is easily rebuilt for the next round. That is not the case with our public schools.

The consequences of pulling support from public education, intended or not, are far-reaching and long-lasting. Our legislators ought to be wise enough to see that and act accordingly.

Terry Springer is a retired Fort Wayne teacher and member of Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education.

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Monday, March 25, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Mar 25, 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.

****Putting it on facebook, introduce with:
ICYMI Popular posts from the past week.

DEFENDING PUBLIC EDUCATION

Public Education Has Lost a Champion

Quite a few of the popular posts this week were tributes to NEIFPE co-founder, Phyllis Bush. We have collected them and published them on our blog. Click the link above.


PRIVATIZING IPS

These charter schools could soon turn to IPS for help with special education

Why are our tax dollars going to schools who can’t or won’t educate children with special needs? If you can't educate all the children of the community then you shouldn't be allowed to run a tax supported school!

From Chalkbeat
Indianapolis Public Schools is considering launching a cooperative that would allow a handful of innovation schools — which are run by outside operators, including charters — to pay the district to help educate special needs students. The move would be a significant step in the district’s development as a service provider to schools it doesn’t manage.

Here’s the tally for how much IPS needs to cut from its budget

While IPS students see cuts and lose resources, IPS board votes to give away resources to charter schools.

From Chalkbeat
The Indy Chamber and Indianapolis Public Schools have put a number on how much the district needs to cut or make up in new revenue over the next eight years: $328 million. But just what sacrifices families and educators will have to make is still uncertain.


Exclusive: Indy Eleven offers to buy Broad Ripple High to build stadium

From IndyStar
A 20,000-seat soccer stadium, the new home of the Indy Eleven, may be built on the campus of now-closed Broad Ripple High School.

The $550 million proposal — which would need IPS Board, state and city approval to move forward — also includes hundreds of apartments, retail space, an office building, a hotel, underground parking, a school and a public plaza.

The development could pump fresh life into Broad Ripple, one of the city's most historic and charming neighborhoods but also one that has struggled in recent years with crime and the nuisances of a popular bar scene.

Marketed to millennials, Indy Eleven has a young, largely upscale fan base. The prospect of walking or taking the new Red Line to a neighborhood stadium — and nearby restaurants and bars before and after matches — would have strong appeal.

Overwhelmed by problems, an Indianapolis charter school is closing — again

The most infuriating word in this headline is the word AGAIN! Charter school operators often jump into the education world without any concept of how difficult it actually is. How can we stop our legislators from creating these disasters?

From Chalkbeat
A far east side charter school that suffered from dwindling enrollment, low test scores, and high teacher and principal turnover will close in June.

Indianapolis Lighthouse East, which reopened four years ago, was expected to graduate only 44 percent of seniors in its first graduating class this year. The school, which includes grades 7-12, also anticipated a budget deficit and fewer students next year, and teachers and students alike have complained that discipline is a major issue there.

With new deal, IPS could pay for 2 KIPP charter schools’ busing with local tax money

While IPS students go without, will the IPS board give away resources to charter schools?

From Chalkbeat
The Indianapolis Public Schools board will vote Thursday on whether to provide some KIPP charter school students free busing, a move that would give the schools rare access to services funded by local property tax money.

The board is considering extending to two KIPP schools the free busing it has been providing to former neighborhood schools that were overhauled by charter partners. While the KIPP schools, like those schools, are part of the district’s innovation network, they were previously independent charter schools and have picked up part of the cost of busing their receives from the district.


IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY STIFLES VOTERS

People's guardian? Appointed secretary could hasten state's turn away from public education

The Republicans in the Indiana legislature are very vocal about giving "choice" in public education, yet they have removed the choice that voters had in choosing an education leader for the state.

Making the new Indiana Secretary of Education position appointed is bad enough. Allowing someone with no education experience to be appointed to the position is an insult to every education professional in Indiana and more proof that the Republican super-majority hates public education.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Republican Jennifer McCormick will leave office at the end of 2021 as Indiana's last superintendent of public instruction. She might also leave as the last educator in the top education post. House Bill 1005, approved by the Indiana Senate Tuesday, doesn't require the governor to appoint an educator as secretary of education.

The legislation, which accelerated the appointment by four years after McCormick announced she would not seek a second term, requires the appointee to have an advanced degree, “preferably in education or educational administration (emphasis added),” and to be either a licensed educator or to have at least five years of work experience as a teacher, superintendent or executive in the field of education.

Republican leaders held firm against efforts to amend the bill. When four-term state Superintendent Suellen Reed urged the Senate Education Committee to require an education-related degree, first-term Sen. Aaron Freeman pointed out that such a requirement would have prevented Mitch Daniels' appointment as president of Purdue University or Betsy DeVos' selection as U.S. secretary of education.

ROBINSON CHALLENGES ADULTS

Robinson to adults: What can you do for children?

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Wendy Robinson, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools, today challenged about 300 people to consider what they can do for children.

"If you remember the old saying, 'It takes a village,' our problem today isn't the kids," Robinson said. "The problem today is we don't have a village anymore."

YET ANOTHER CHARTER FAIL

Low test scores and shrinking enrollment cost Indianapolis Academy of Excellence its charter

Why do our legislators keep allowing for charters that fail like this?

From Chalkbeat
The Indiana Charter School Board voted Tuesday not to renew the charter for the Indianapolis Academy of Excellence, a small school it oversees on the city’s northeast side.

The 129-student school, which opened in 2014, was up for charter renewal during what became a tumultuous year, school leaders said. The board voted 4-1 to end the charter, and board staff said the school will likely close at the end of the year.


INADEQUATE FUNDING AND MORE SCHOOL CLOSINGS

Lakeland School Corp. may close 2 elementary schools

From WANE.com
LaGrange County - The Lakeland School Corporation is in high economic risk of operating in the red, and one of their proposed solutions against that future is downsizing the number of buildings in the district. Ideas were proposed at a school board meeting Monday night in which more than 125 people attended.

There is currently one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools in the district.

One of the proposals is for a three-school district. The district would close down both Lima-Brighton and Wolcott Mills elementary schools. What would remain is a primary elementary school for kindergarten through second grade, an intermediate elementary school for third through sixth grade, and a junior/senior high school for seventh through twelfth grade. School attendance numbers are projected to be 399, 563, and 883 students, respectively.

Lakeland leadership said they are expecting an operating loss of nearly $700,000 this year and $900,000 next year. The three-school proposal would save them $1.1 million by the end of 2020.

POLITICS

The New Yorker Defends AOC

From Diane Ravitch
This is a great article by New Yorker editor David Remnick about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It is almost funny how she has rattled the GOP. They hate, hate, hate her. Is it her youth, her idealism, her beauty, her brains? Is it because she has a heart and they don’t? Is it because she has a soul and they don’t? She frightens them.

THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SKIMPS ON SCHOOL FUNDING FOR AT-RISK SCHOOLS

Poor schools neglected in funding plan

From School Matters
Hardly anyone wins in the 2019-21 budget and school funding formula approved by the Indiana House, but some schools lose more than others. And high-poverty school districts continue to fall behind.

Legislators have boasted that the budget increases K-12 funding by over 2 percent each of the next two years. But allowing for inflation and increasing enrollment, that’s effectively no increase at all.

As Northwest Allen County Superintendent Chris Himsel tells the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, the key figure is funding per student. Statewide, that will increase by just 1.5 percent in fiscal 2020 and 1.7 percent in fiscal 2021, according to school funding calculations released by House Republications.

And the increase won’t be distributed equally. That’s because funding for the “complexity” category, which funnels additional support to neediest students, is being cut by over $100 million.


MCCORMICK PROMISES TO ADVOCATE FOR STUDENTS

Indiana's twin education deficits: Students' widening achievement gap must be narrowed

From Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The department invests its energy and resources toward helping all students achieve their highest potential and receive an equitable education. Indiana must measure what matters to determine progress toward closing the achievement gap.

I appreciate that this debate has opened a dialogue on education policy in our state. All Indiana students deserve sound policies and best practices. This requires Hoosiers to be informed (#beinformed).

As always, under my leadership, the department will continue to advocate for all students, rather than allowing political agendas to misrepresent true educational equity.

PUBLIC EDUCATION GETS SHORTED - AGAIN

Budget shuffle shortchanges public schools

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
At a March 7 board work session, Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson pointed to mandates the General Assembly continues to heap on public schools that require new administrative positions, including a proposed requirement to track what students do after they graduate.

“We don't have enough counselors now to deal with what we're supposed to do for kids now in school,” she said. “And the question is why? What is the benefit and what resources are you giving us to get this done?”

Indiana lawmakers have not kept up with their obligation to public education. Insisting they have increased spending ignores both the budget restraints they have placed on public schools and their decision to fund schooling for thousands of private and parochial school students without raising taxes. Don't be fooled by their sleight of hand.


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