Monday, September 17, 2018

In Case You Missed It – Sep 17, 2018

Here are links to the 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.

This week's list is unusually long, so I've listed them below without any embedded quotes. Scroll down for the complete listing.

ZIP code big determinant in kids' outcomes

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Early experiences affect brain development and build the foundation for a child's future behavior, educational achievement and health. It is the combination of a child's genes and experiences that shape his or her brain, and between birth and age 5, the brain develops more than at any other time in life.

Childhood health and development are directly affected by the homes and neighborhoods the children grow up in. This is illustrated in the disparity in infant mortality rates among Fort Wayne ZIP codes and racial groups. Infant mortality, the death of a child within the first year of life, is an important public health issue for Allen County. According to Indiana State Department of Health data, the 46806 ZIP code ranks among the highest of all Indiana counties for infant mortality, and within those neighborhoods, the rate of death for African-American infants is three times as high as the overall rate for Allen County.


Texas moves to remove Hillary Clinton from social studies curriculum. Really.

From The Answer Sheet
The Texas Board of Education — known for a long line of controversies about what students should and shouldn’t learn in social studies — has taken a step to remove Hillary Clinton from the curriculum.


The Dallas Morning News reported that on Friday, the board, in a preliminary vote, agreed to remove a number of historical figures, with Clinton and Helen Keller among them, in a “streamlining” effort to update the social studies curriculum standards for grades K-12. A final vote will be in November.


Jeff Bryant: The Profiteering Behind the Effort to Bring Charter Schools to Kentucky

From Diane Ravitch
Until 2015,Kentucky did not have a charter school law. Then hard-right Republican Matt Bevin was elected governor, and he pushed hard to get a charter law passed by the legislature. But the legislature has not yet allocated funding for charter schools. Opposition has been strong and bipartisan. Now the governor has packed the state school board with charter advocates, fired the state superintendent and hired a state superintendent who wants charter schools.


TIME: “I Work Three Jobs and Donate Blood Plasma to Make a Living”: A Teacher in America Today

From Diane Ravitch
TIME magazine has made the discovery that teachers in America are underpaid.

North Carolina teacher Stuart Egan noticed that TIME had done a dramatic turnaround.

So did I. But I thought of TIME’s two cover stories lambasting teachers, one in 2008,the other in 2014.

That was then, this is now.


Ohio Releases School Grades: Richest Schools Get A’s, Charters Get More D’s and F’s than Public Schools

From Jan Resseger through Diane Ravitch
Let’s be clear on this point: Giving single letter grades to schools is a terrible, stupid, invalid idea. It has no scientific basis. It rewards affluent districts and stigmatizes poor schools.

Jan Resseger reports that the state’s letter grades performed as expected. The schools in the most affluent districts get the most A grades. The schools in the poorest districts get the lowest grades.


Why DeVos’ deputy is ‘very, very happy’ with this innovative Indianapolis school

Two caveats before you read this article.

First, read about the Indianapolis Public Schools and its deep dive into the charter world in The Answer Sheet.

Second, keep in mind that among the supporters of Chalkbeat are:
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • EdChoice (formerly the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice)
  • The Anschutz Foundation
  • The Joyce Foundation
  • The Walton Family Foundation
Now, check out what Chalkbeat had to say about the DeVos assistant's visit to Indianapolis

From Chalkbeat
Purdue Polytechnic is the latest Indianapolis school to receive praise from DeVos’s administration. A staunch advocate for school choice, DeVos has repeatedly cited schools in Indianapolis, with its large charter sector and private school voucher program, as national models.


School board was right to reject metal detectors

From School Matters
The Monroe County Community School Corp. board in Bloomington, Indiana, deserves a ton of credit for its brave and correct decision to reject an offer of free metal detectors from the state.

In the midst of a panic over school shootings, including the shooting of a teacher and student last spring at a Noblesville middle school, nearly every school district in Indiana jumped at Gov. Eric Holcomb’s offer of free metal detectors. The MCCSC board said no, and for good reasons.

“I think that just the fact that we have these, whether or not we ever use them, diminishes the good feelings our parents and our kids have in our schools,” board member Jeannine Butler said.

That’s exactly right. Parents and students want schools to be safe, but they also want them to be warm, welcoming places, not “hardened” targets that resemble prisons or detention centers. What message does it send if a school acts as if everyone who enters the door is a potential killer?

But just because the school board’s decision was correct doesn’t mean it was easy.


He may be fudging on Roe v. Wade, but Brett Kavanaugh has been clear on backing DeVos-favored school reform

From The Answer Sheet
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was anything but clear during his confirmation hearing when addressing questions about whether he would vote to strike down the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide and set a new standard for the right to privacy. But he has been clear on this: support for key principles that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos holds dear about America's schools.


Parents upset with FWCS curriculum

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
...Melissa Cormany, a mother of three FWCS students, said she represented dozens of parents unable to make the 6 p.m. downtown meeting.

Cormany questioned the district's approach of teaching language arts standards through excerpts of texts.

“Since when did reading full novels become an enrichment activity?” she asked, adding students need to develop reading endurance.

Novels weren't written to teach state standards, and using excerpts ensures the district is covering skills Indiana students must learn, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said after the meeting. She noted teachers may teach whole novels.

Staffing remains an underlying issue this academic year.

“Five weeks in, we're still hiring teachers,” Robinson said.


Number of students impacted by ISTEP grading problem grows to nearly 28,000

Is your child affected? Did you know your tax dollars got spent on this debacle?

From Chalkbeat
More high school students were affected by problems with grading this year’s ISTEP test than previously estimated, the Indiana Department of Education said Monday.

Because of an issue grading a graphing question on the 10th grade math test, 27,813 students will see their test scores increase, the state said. Last week, the state had estimated that 22,000 high school students were affected by the problem.


Stop Calling It Philanthropy

From Curmudgucation
Modern fauxlanthropy is not about helping people; it's about buying control, about hiring people to promote your own program and ideas. It's about doing an end run around the entire democratic process, even creating positions that never existed, like Curriculum Director of the United States, and then using sheer force of money to appoint yourself to that position. It's about buying compliance.

It is privatization. It is about taking a section of the public sector and buying control of it so that you can run it as if it was your own personal possession.


Pay grade: Lawmakers must prioritize educational salaries

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
As The Journal Gazette's Ashley Sloboda reported last week, Indiana scored poorly on a Learning Policy Institute survey of the state's attractiveness to teachers, which considers compensation, working conditions, qualifications and turnover. Indiana scored just 2.07 on the five-point scale, lagging all neighboring states.

Teacher salaries are a major factor in the poor score. Nationally, U.S. Department of Education statistics show teacher pay is 1.6 percent lower than it was in 1999, adjusted for inflation. Indiana teachers now earn almost 16 percent less than they did in the 1999-2000 school year. That's the largest inflation-adjusted decline in pay in the nation.

Time is money; teachers losing ground on both

From John Stossel in The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
I'm not expecting a $17,000 raise or even a $6,000 raise this year. It is not about money as much as it's about time. Time is money, but it is so much more.

Time is the currency in which I spend my life. The amount of time I've had to do my job with pride and satisfaction has eroded while the demands have increased. What I want more than a huge raise is the time to plan, to be creative and to build healthy relationships within the school community. Unfortunately, more than ever this year, the lack of duty-free time has created such toxicity that I simply cannot teach well in an unhealthy environment.

Truly, I have relished so much of what I've learned as we attempt to tackle new initiatives. I am constantly learning how to be a better teacher. Unfortunately, though, it is as if for every new strategy I learn and new method I wish to employ, my planning time vanishes.


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