Monday, July 30, 2018

If You Don't Read Facebook – Jul 30

Most of NEIFPE's social media presence is on Facebook where we post links to articles and blogs dealing with the state of public education in the U.S. For those of you who are not on Facebook (or have left), we've gathered links to a few articles of interest to help you keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to put your email address into the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.

No, private schools aren’t better at educating kids than public schools. Why this new study matters.

From The Answer Sheet
Despite evidence showing otherwise, it remains conventional wisdom in many parts of the education world that private schools do a better job of educating students, with superior standardized test scores and outcomes. It is one of the claims that some supporters of school choice make in arguing that the public should pay for private school education.

The only problem? It isn’t true, a new study confirms.

An Explanation to My Readers

From Diane Ravitch
...The blog will continue to be an education blog. If we allow grifters and for-profit corporations to open their own schools, we forfeit the future. If we divert funding from public schools to subsidize privately-run unaccountable charters and unregulated religious schools, we harm our children while subtracting money from regulated, transparent, and accountable public schools.

As many of you know, I am writing a book about the Corporate Reform movement and the Resistance. I am excited about the book.

I am writing it as I continue to post comments and blogs. I am about half-way through the book.

Bear with me.

If you like Trump, you won’t like what I post. I consider him to be a menace, a clear and present danger to our nation and the world. Read or don’t read. It’s your choice.

Indiana schools brace for budget changes

Indiana's school districts are bracing for big changes approved by lawmakers that will alter how they handle their budgets and school funds.

Lawmakers passed the changes last year with the goal of giving school districts greater flexibility in spending and to clarify how much is spent on student instruction versus operations and administration costs. The changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

"It's a huge change," said Dennis Costerison, the executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business Officials, who worked with lawmakers drafting the bill."

Who Is the Real Mike Pence?

From Diane Ravitch
“Trade Trump for Pence and you go from kleptocracy to theocracy.

“That’s the takeaway from a forthcoming book by the journalists Michael D’Antonio, who previously wrote “The Truth About Trump,” and Peter Eisner. It’s titled “The Shadow President: The Truth About Mike Pence,” it will be published on Aug. 28 and it’s the most thorough examination of the vice president’s background to date…

“The book persuasively illustrates what an ineffectual congressman he was, apart from cozying up to the Koch brothers, Betsy DeVos and other rich Republican donors; the clumsiness and vanity of his one term as governor of Indiana, for which he did something that predecessors hadn’t and “ordered up a collection of custom-embroidered clothes — dress shirts, polo shirts, and vests and jackets — decorated with his name and the words Governor of Indiana”; the strong possibility that he wouldn’t have won re-election; his luck in being spared that humiliation by the summons from Trump, who needed an outwardly bland, intensely religious character witness to muffle his madness and launder his sins; and the alacrity with which he says whatever Trump needs him to regardless of the truth.

Edged out of the middle class, teachers are walking out

From The Hechinger Report
Low pay has lead teachers across the country to organize and strike for better wages and greater investment in schools. In Arizona, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Colorado, the growing “Red for ed” movement is demanding legislatures in these red states invest more money in schools and school staff.

Tammy Kim is a freelance writer who wrote about teachers losing their grip on the middle class for The Hechinger Report.

“Teachers found that only by striking, only by showing their force in this way, would they be able to sort of move the needle for themselves,” she says.

Many of the teachers she spoke with at an April teachers’ protest in Phoenix, Arizona, told her they were struggling to make ends meet.

“I met a lot of teachers who had second and third jobs, teachers who had roommates,” she says.

“So, I guess by the definition of middle class that we are used to, [they] probably would not qualify.”

Eva Moskowitz’s Success Academy High School Faculty: 70% Gone in a Single Year

The worst fears of privatization come true.

From Mercedes Schneider
“What really makes me sad is the number of first-year teachers who quit and decided never to teach again,” said Natasha Venner, an experienced history teacher who left for a district school...

Several teachers said they were upset that some bright, capable students were sent to a prior grade midyear...

One teacher who left, Lynn Strong, is an adjunct assistant professor of writing at Columbia University...She said the juniors’ new classroom “became my worst fears of a test-prep factory”...

Is Anti-Testing Movement Over or Just Resting?

From Diane Ravitch
...the anti-testing movement has slowed to a crawl. With testing requirements locked into federal law (the so-called “Every Student Succeeds Act”), activists are discouraged or waiting for another chance to attack the testing regime that has obsessed federal policymakers since the passage of No Child Left Behind, and even earlier, going back to Bill Clinton’s Goals 2000, which encouraged every state to develop their own standards and tests with an infusion of federal dollars. You can trace the testing movement even earlier, but it was not until Goals 2000 that there was real federal money offered to states to get the testing going.

Disrupting education, the NFL way

From The Hechinger Report
...if a vast proportion of the hiring managers are white, it’s likely that their social networks are predominantly white, too. Three-quarters of white Americans say they have social circles that are entirely white, as compared to 65 percent of African Americans and 46 percent of people who identified as Hispanic, according to a 2013 survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to conducting independent research. This has a profound professional impact when principals and school district leaders recruit from within their social circles, be it from a university or non-profit teacher prep program. This kind of hiring needs to be called out for what it really is — discrimination.


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #325 – July 27, 2018

Dear Friends,

Attention all who support public education in Indiana!

Make plans now to come to the 8th Annual ICPE Fall Membership Meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, August 25, 2018, 2:00 to 3:30pm.
  • We invited U.S. Senate candidates Joe Donnelly and Mike Braun to speak that day, in line with our bipartisan approach to supporting public education.
  • Joe Donnelly has accepted our invitation and will be introduced by Glenda Ritz as the meeting begins.
  • Mike Braun declined our invitation due to prior commitments.
  • We have invited a panel of legislators to discuss how to build support for public education in the General Assembly.
  • We have invited State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick to speak.
  • We will present and then release the 2018 ICPE Legislator Report Card. Once again, ICPE has given letter grades to legislators based on their votes on keys bills in the 2017 and 2018 sessions which show their support or lack of support for public education.
Those present will hear the explanations of the Legislator A-F Report Card which will then be released to the media.

Where? The H. Dean Evans Community Center, MSD of Washington Township
8550 Woodfield Crossing Blvd., Indianapolis

8th Annual Fall Membership Meeting in Indianapolis

This will be the 8th year that members and friends of public education have gathered in the Dean Evans Center since the Indiana Coalition for Public Education was founded in 2011. This meeting is open to all ICPE members and to all who support public education.

Please note the date and make plans now to join us on August 25th for a stellar program and for a great chance to network with other public education advocates.

Bring a public education friend with you!

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 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.


Monday, July 23, 2018

If You Don't Read Facebook – July 23

Most of NEIFPE's internet presence is on Facebook where we post links to articles and blogs dealing with the state of public education in the U.S. Beginning today we'll occasionally give our blog readers a taste of the same. Below you'll find links a few articles of interest to help you keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to put your email address into the Follow Us By Email box in the column on the right to be informed of our blog posts when they are published.

Who Controls Education Policy? The Power of the One Percent versus The Power of Educators

From blogger Jan Resseger
For a long time it has been clear that the policy agenda for school privatization is being underwritten by the One Percent, while traditional public schools are the quintessential institution of the 99 Percent. During this spring and summer, we have been reminded of the role of organized teachers for reminding us about the needs of public schools’ powerless constituents—our children.

Uh, Oh: Net Charter School Growth Slows as Rate of Charter Closures Increases

From blogger Mercedes Schneider
Market-driven ed reform is a story of races to close gaps. However, there is one ed-reform gap that appears to be closing, with the gap closure no doubt undesired:

The national rate of charter school closures is notably gaining on the rate of charter school openings.

In spring 2018, the ed-reform publication, Education Next, published an article about the decline in charter school annual net growth (number of new charter schools minus number of charter school closures per year) since the 2013-14 school year. The graph below ends with the 2016-17 school year. Note that EdNext reports that the data from this graph comes from another ed reform org, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS).

Indiana is struggling to give kids speech therapy. Here’s why it’s getting harder.

From Chalkbeat
“You have to understand that we have a huge shortage of (speech-language pathologists),” said Ann Higgins, director of a special education cooperative that serves four districts in north central Indiana. “This is the beginning of my sixth year being director, and we have yet to be fully staffed … as a result, we’re constantly piecing together a puzzle, if you will, to provide speech services.”

These professionals can work in educational or medical settings, and their roles can vary widely depending on the students they serve. They might work on letter sounds with some students with milder needs, but they could also help students with more severe disabilities improve swallowing.

IPS tax request in line with what other districts have approved

From blogger Steve Hinnefeld
The Indianapolis Public Schools board decided this week to ask voters to approve $315 million in increased property taxes to help fund school operations. That may sound like a lot, but spread over eight years and for a district of IPS’ size, it’s a reasonable request.

It’s right in line with what school boards have been asking for in other districts around the state. And voters have increasingly approved those school-funding referendums.

The IPS operating referendum boils down to $39.4 million per year — about $1,300 per IPS student. Some districts, including West Lafayette, Tri-County and Munster, have won approval for more than that, per pupil. Other districts, including MSD Warren Township and Crown Point, have settled for less.

Gary Rubinstein: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Reform Movement and Its Critics, But Didn’t Ask

From public education advocate and author, Diane Ravitch
This is a hilarious, must-see video, narrated by Gary Rubinstein, about his life in Teach for America, his disillusionment with Reform, and his collision with Reformers as they set about to remake American education

People Who Don’t Pay Attention to Public Schools

From blogger Nancy Bailey
Many people in this country...are not fully aware of what’s happening to one of our most sacred democratic institutions...

They’re distracted by reforms that sound nice. Or they’re mesmerized by the reformers.

Others worry about old reforms that, while serious, have led to newer, worse reforms. They care, but are stuck in a time warp.

Some want vouchers. They don’t appreciate public schools.

I’ve gotten emails that say, “Schools have always been bad,” or “teachers don’t know how to teach.” I politely write back that schools, in general, have educated many students well for years, despite problems, and I’m a retired teacher.

Wealth – Not Enrollment in Private School – Increases Student Achievement, According to New Study

From blogger Steven Singer
Students enrolled in private schools often get good grades and high test scores.

And there’s a reason for that – they’re from wealthier families.

A new peer-reviewed study from Professors Richard C. Pianta and Arya Ansari of the University of Virginia found that once you take family income out of the equation, there are absolutely zero benefits of going to a private school. The majority of the advantage comes from simply having money and all that comes with it – physical, emotional, and mental well-being, living in a stable and secure environment, knowing where your next meal will come from, etc.

The study published in July 2018 attempts to correct for selection bias – the factors that contribute to a student choosing private school rather than the benefits of the school, itself.

The Ridiculous Ways Adults Ruin Recess

From blogger Nancy Bailey
Recess for children is such a simple concept that some adults don’t know how to deal with it.

Edutopia is talking about a “right way” to do recess in order to “optimize” it. This stems from a report that is supposed to “help” with recess. They want to manipulate how children play and how we analyze how children play.

Here’s a news flash! The right way to do recess is to give it to the children and let them play the way they want. Safety is important, but adult intervention should be kept at a minimum.

Network for Public Education National Conference

From the Network for Public Education

Registration is open for the 2018 Network for Public Education conference in Indianapolis, October 20, 21. Use this link to register:
Our 5th Annual National Conference takes place in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 20 - 21, 2018.

Indiana, like so many states, has faced a coordinated and direct attack on public education, but the people of Indiana are fighting back and so are we.

Join us for our conference at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown where you'll be educated and inspired by activists from across the country and where you can share your story of how you're fighting for our future.