Tuesday, August 7, 2018

In Case You Missed It – August 7, 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 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.

Overdue accountability

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
When Indiana lifted its moratorium on online charter schools, Rep. Greg Porter, chairman of the House Education Committee, complained the decision was “a hostile injection into the education system instead of a cooperative process.”

“We needed to do it the right way, to have a real debate with clear regulations and accountability,” said the Indianapolis Democrat in 2009.

Nearly a decade later, virtual charter schools represent the very worst of Indiana's public education system, with the state's three online schools finishing in the bottom 3 percent statewide for test improvement. Each received F's under the most recent round of grades assigned by the state. Graduation rates are abysmal: Indiana Virtual School had the worst rate in the state, graduating just 63 of 985 students.

Paying for college through future pay

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
A growing trend in paying for college has yet to catch on in northeast Indiana: students promising their schools a percentage of their future salary in exchange for tuition.

This type of contract, known as an income share agreement, is different from traditional loans, in which graduates pay principal and interest until the balance is zero. Income shares allow graduates to pay their alma mater a percentage of their salary for a set period of time; terms can vary.

American High School Students Win World’s Hardest Math Competition–Again!

From Diane Ravitch
America’s high school math team just won the International Mathematical Olympiad!

Our kids are the best in the world!

And most of the kids on the winning team are children of immigrants (attention, D.J. Trump and Stephen Miller, the Trump administration’s point person on keeping immigrants out).

Props to LeBron James and his new Akron public school — but what about the other kids?

From The Answer Sheet
...The praise for James has come from far and wide, including from charter school supporters who no doubt would have preferred that James opened a charter, which is publicly funded but privately operated. (Ohio’s charter school sector has long been riddled with scandal, with the latest fiasco being the collapse of the for-profit cyber-charter Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT), which has been ordered to repay the state some $80 million.)

And James’s focus on building a school within a traditional public district suggests he understands the importance of the traditional public education system in the United States, which some argue is the country’s most important civic institution and which is under assault from school “reformers” who want to privatize it.

Still, the fact that this school opened only because of the good graces of a very wealthy, civic-minded athlete underscores the continuing problem with education funding in this country. And it highlights the push for school “choice” that has Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s education secretary, as its chief advocate.

2018 Medley #19: LeBron James and the Promise of Public Schools

From Live Long and Prosper
"Although this is a really beautiful story of philanthropy, it does raise the question of why communities need celebrities to provide services that should be provided by the government" -- Trevor Noah

A powerfully humane element of teaching

From The Answer Sheet
These teachers seem to operate with an expansive sense of human ability and are particularly alert to signs of that ability, signs that might be faint or blurred by societal biases or by a student’s reticence or distracting behavior — or that the student him or herself might barely comprehend.

Through the way they teach, through mentoring, or through some other intervention, these teachers help develop the abilities they perceive. We don’t hear a lot about this powerfully humane element of teaching, for so much current discussion of teacher education and development is focused elsewhere: from creating measures of effectiveness to mastering district or state curriculum frameworks. These are important issues to be sure, but they have crowded out so much else that makes teaching a richly humanistic intellectual pursuit.

AFT Sums Up Ten Years of Public School Underfunding and Neglect with Details from Each State

From Jan Resseger
The new report from the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), A Decade of Neglect, is one of the most lucid explanations I’ve read about the deplorable fiscal conditions for public schools across the states. It explains the precipitous drop in school funding caused by the Great Recession, temporarily ameliorated in 2009 by an infusion of funds from the federal stimulus (a financial boost that disappeared after a couple of years), compounded by tax cutting and austerity budgeting across many states, and further compounded by schemes to drain education dollars to privatized charter and voucher programs all out of the same budget.


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