Monday, August 27, 2018

In Case You Missed It – August 27, 2018

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 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.


City Fund: Another Billionaire-Funded Phony Scheme to Steal Public Schools from the Public

From Diane Ravitch
Two billionaires, unhappy with the slow and slowing pace of privatization, have created another organization to spread the gospel of school choice, following in the venerable tradition established by racist Southern governors and senators following the Brown Decision of 1954. In the late 1950s (as Mercedes Schneider wrote in detail in her fine book School Choice), white southerners were mad for choice. They saw choice as the best way to stop racial integration.

Now, under the unesteemed leadership of rightwing zealot Betsy DeVos, the mask of benevolence has been stripped away from the choice movement.

But that doesn’t stop billionaires Reed Hastings (Netflix) and John Arnold (Enron). Education is their game, their hobby, and they are not ready to abandon their dream of privatizing every school in America.


Indiana schools getting 2 state grades? Too confusing for parents and educators, experts say.

From Chalkbeat
National experts told Indiana education leaders Thursday that the state’s plan to give schools two A-F grades for the foreseeable future is unsustainable — and that parts of both grade models could be problematic going forward.

Indiana ended up with two school grading systems after state education officials updated the state’s rating method in response to new federal law. But Indiana State Board of Education members decided they were ultimately unhappy with that combined system and decided to peel off a state version, a move that has complicated the entire process.


NYC Charter School Diva Eva Moskowitz and Problems at Success Academy High School

From Jan Resseger
You will remember Eva Moskowitz, the New York City diva of no-excuses charter schools. In 2016, Moskowitz was paid by her board—made up of the city’s wealthy hedge funders—salary, bonuses and benefits of $782,175 to run a 46-school chain of charter schools funded primarily with public dollars. She is the melodramatic enemy of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: She regularly complains of persecution by the mayor when he struggles to abide by the New York state law, which she and her backers drove through the legislature, requiring the New York City Public Schools either to grant Eva’s Success Academy Charters co-located space in public school buildings or to pay their rent in private accommodations.

Moskowitz’s Success Academies do not backfill. That’s what they call it in New York when charter schools replace with new students any children who drop out. Public schools, of course, always backfill; they must serve all children who live in the school district and enroll. But Eva’s charters make a point of “preserving the school’s culture” by letting the class get smaller as children move through the grades. They do not accept new students into a class after third grade. This is, of course, a strategy for shaping a class of high scorers, even though every year the class is smaller.


DeVos might let states use grants for guns at school

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering whether states can use federal grant money to buy guns for schools, including possibly arming teachers, after receiving queries from Texas and Oklahoma, people familiar with the matter said.

The idea drew swift criticism from Democrats, teacher unions, education groups and gun control activists, who said the response to school shootings should be fewer guns, not more. But President Donald Trump and others have argued that arming teachers would “harden” schools and make them less likely targets for mass shootings.


With common enrollment, a thousand more kids applied to IPS magnet schools

From Chalkbeat
A new application system that allowed Indianapolis families to apply to many schools through a single website dramatically increased the number of students seeking spots in Indianapolis Public Schools magnet programs. But it’s not yet clear whether that growth will help diversify some sought-after schools, one of the district’s key goals.

The enrollment figures, some presented at Tuesday’s school board meeting, are the latest information available on the first year of the ambitious common enrollment system known as Enroll Indy. The website allows families to apply for more than 50 charter and magnet schools using a single application that ranks their choices.


Great News! The Southern Poverty Law Center is Now Fighting Privatization in Court

From Diane Ravitch
The Southern Poverty Law Center is one of the most respected names in the nation among groups that fight for justice and civil rights.

They have turned their firepower to fight against the privatization of public schools.

SPLC was instrumental in the court case that ended with the judge striking down a constitutional amendment that hid its true intention–removing the ability of school districts to control the growth of privately managed but publicly funded charter schools.


Still More Testing for Littles

From Curmudgucation
But if you've only just caught on to the debate about whether or not kindergarten should be the new first grade (or second grade), you should know that's old news. Because education reformers and test manufacturers have their sights set on pre-school students.

Dynamic Measurement Group, the folks who brought us DIBELS, are rolling out PELI, a pre-school literacy assessment for 3- to 5-year-olds. It will be available this coming year.


Indiana lawmakers want a renewed focus on workforce in schools. What role should counselors play?

From Chalkbeat
Indiana’s counselor shortage has been well-documented and the focus of major donations over the past several years. The Lilly Endowment, a prominent Indianapolis-based philanthropy, launched the Comprehensive Counseling Initiative for Indiana K-12 Students in 2016. The more than $50 million-effort aims to improve counseling in Indiana. Experts say meaningful counseling can help schools support students as they navigate problems both at home and in the classroom.


Audrey Hill: The Hoax of the Great White Savior

From Diane Ravitch
All of these are the bad policies of more privileged people on the backs of less privileged people… the kids that are removed or taught in test prep factories, the teachers that labor every day under a cloud of undeserved censure, the schools that are shamed by fake data, and the users and benefactors of public education itself. The mission is not only NOT accomplished, it is subverted and harnessed to an entirely different mission serving the oldest set of interests and the wrong set of priorities.


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