Monday, October 29, 2018

In Case You Missed It – Oct 29, 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.

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Two NOLA Charter Schools Closed Due to Low Scores, Low Enrollment

From Diane Ravitch
Two New Orleans charters, both from the Algiers charter chain, are closing. Read the article to see what is happening to the students. They are moved around like pieces on a giant checker board.

A few months ago, the Education Research Alliance of Tulane University published a report about the success of the New Orleans charter model (Formula: get a natural disaster to wipe out high-poverty neighborhoods and many schools, reduce enrollment by 1/3, change the overall demographics, fire all the teachers and bring in TFA, eliminate the union, replace public schools with private charters, open selective charters for the “best” kids, segregate the poorest black kids, put the structure under an uncritical State board elected with help from out-of-State billionaires, and VOILA! A school miracle!).

But not quite.


No, President Trump, the N.Y. Stock Exchange Did Not Open the Day After 9/11

From Diane Ravitch
...Memories are fallible, even for presidents. This is why they are supposed to have staffs who help make sure they stick to the facts and, if they get it wrong, make sure that the misstatements are corrected.

President Trump is not an ordinary president, and apparently he does not have a typical staff. So, in an effort to justify holding a campaign rally after 11 people at a synagogue were gunned down in Pittsburgh, the president twice referenced an event that did not happen.

This will be a very short fact check.


Here’s what Betsy DeVos has to say about Indiana’s failing virtual schools

DeVos continues to support the waste of our tax dollars and the diversion of $$ from our public schools here in Indiana.

From Chalkbeat
When asked what she thinks about 12,000 Indiana students attending failing virtual schools, DeVos said, “We want all students to receive a quality education.”

Earlier this week, a committee of Indiana State Board of Education members recommended a package of policy changes that would overhaul how online charter schools operate in the state. The changes included adding more oversight, reducing a financial incentive for the groups that monitor virtual charter schools, limiting how quickly schools can grow their enrollment, and keeping more kids from going to the schools if they continue to post poor academic results.

Gov. Eric Holcomb urged the state board to look into such changes late last year, but Holcomb “is still reviewing the recommendations,” his spokeswoman said in an email Friday. The proposal is expected to be presented to the full board next month.


Kentucky educators and supporters try to reclaim state

From School Matters
The nation’s eyes were on Kentucky in the spring when Bluegrass State teachers walked off the job because of low pay and threats to their pensions. We should all be watching again on Nov. 6, when teachers and their supporters try to take the state back from ALEC-aligned Republicans.

Over 50 active and retired teachers are seeking seats in the Kentucky House and Senate, part of what veteran Courier-Journal political reporter Tom Loftus calls “an unprecedented wave of educators running for the General Assembly this fall.”


Indiana lawmakers went to preschool. Here’s what they learned

If we had legislators who listened to educators, we’d already be providing Pre-K for all the children in our state.

From Chalkbeat
What early childhood advocates wanted the seven visiting lawmakers to see was the difference that high-quality preschool can make for children living in poverty, in the hopes that lawmakers will expand access to early learning opportunities next year to more children across the state.

Almost all of the 224 children at St. Mary’s five locations come from poor families. But while research says children in poverty often lag years behind their more affluent peers, executive director Connie Sherman told lawmakers that 83 percent of St. Mary’s children finish preschool ready for kindergarten.


We Need to Trust Teachers to Innovate

From John Spencer
He described the frustrations of developing an engaging unit plan only to be told by his cooperating teacher that he had to use the district’s scripted curriculum instead. Now, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with boxed curriculum. After all, a great novel is essentially “boxed.” The issue is when institutions force teachers to use boxed curriculum in a lock-step way where they lack the permission to make it their own.

This district adopted the prescribed curriculum as a way to embrace “best practices in education.” And yet...the district also describes the needs to meet the demands of a “21st Century Learning” and “spark innovation.”

But here’s the thing: innovation requires you to step into the unknown. If we focus all of our attention on best practices and codify these ideas into tightly packaged curriculum, we will inevitably fail to experiment.


Another Sub Service Fails

“Public schools put students first. Businesses put business concerns first. That doesn't make them evil-- just bad partners for schools.”

From Curmudgucation
Most of the affected districts, including the large Dearborn district, were scrambling to make plans. PESG said 1,500 to 2,000 substitute teachers were affected. Some of these districts still have contracts with PESG, so we may see some court action before the smoke clears.

This, of course, is what you get when you let a business have a piece of the education pie. Does this kind of sudden shut down make sense? Was the company down to its last $150 last week but they figured it would all work out anyway, or is this "immediate" shutdown necessary to protect the business's remaining assets. Who knows. All I know is that a school district would do-- well, exactly what the districts are doing, which is to put their heads together, rig something up, and generally move heaven and earth to make sure the needs of students are met.

Public schools put students first. Businesses put business concerns first. That doesn't make them evil-- just bad partners for schools.


More oversight, less growth: How Indiana could turn around its failing online schools

Apparently Indiana hasn't learned anything from Ohio's experience.

It’s a mystery to many of us as to why they want to throw money and effort away to prop up these failing virtual schools.

From Chalkbeat
A state committee tasked with probing dismal results at Indiana’s virtual charter schools is recommending a sweeping package of changes, including capping enrollment at the controversial schools and creating a single statewide authorizer to oversee all of them.


The Days of Charter Schools and Vouchers Are Numbered

From Education Law Prof Blog
I got the chance to meet and listen to teachers from across the country at the Network for Public Education’s annual conference in Indianapolis this past weekend. For the first time in my professional career, I had a firm sense of public education’s future. I have litigated and participated in several civil rights and school funding cases, dealt with lots of different advocates, and watched closely as the teacher protests unfolded this spring. In Indianapolis, I saw something special—something I had never seen before.

I saw a broad based education movement led not by elites, scholars, or politicians, but everyday people. Those everyday people were teachers who were not just from big cities, small cities, suburbs, or the countryside, but from all of those places and as diverse as America’s fifty states and ten thousand school districts. The teachers weren’t just young or old, white, black or brown, men or women, straight or gay. They were all of the above.


Big Spending on Privatizing Public Schools in San Antonio

From Tultican
Federal dollars are supplementing deep pocketed Destroy Public Education (DPE) forces in an effort to privatize schools in San Antonio, Texas. The total monetary support for the preferred charter school systems exceeds $200,000,000. One “DPE” publication, The 74, published a lengthy piece glorifying the attack on San Antonio’s democratically run schools and praised local elites including the school superintendent trained by Arne Duncan and Eli Broad for leading the decimation of public schools in San Antonio’s poorest neighborhoods.


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