Monday, November 5, 2018

In Case You Missed It – Nov 5, 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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Why it matters who governs America’s public schools

From The Answer Sheet by Carol Burris and Diane Ravitch
Public governance of our schools matters for the health of our democracy. The public school was designed to serve and promote the common good; it is paid for by the public, and it belongs to the public, not entrepreneurs...

...Billionaires live in an echo chamber of their own. As they jet across the globe to and from their many homes, the neighborhood school with its bake sales, homecoming dances and lively community elections are foreign and inconsequential...


Arizona: #RedforEd Is So Popular that Even Its Opponents are Hitching Their Wagon to It

From Diane Ravitch
Six months after tens of thousands of red-clad teachers swarmed the Arizona Capitol in a weeklong walkout, demanding higher pay and more funding for schools, education is a dominant issue in the state’s elections next month.

The teachers’ protest movement, which calls itself #RedforEd, has transformed the political battleground. The movement remains so popular in Arizona that candidates and causes across the ideological spectrum are competing to identify with it — including conservatives who, in years past, might have been more likely to criticize teachers or unions than associate with activist educators.


Marching band finals: Homestead 3rd, Carroll 8th in Class A

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Six Allen County bands competed in the State Marching Band Finals at Lucas Oil Stadium with Homestead High School placing highest among the group.

See how your favorite bands did...


The Truth About ‘Gifted’ Versus High-Achieving Students

From Loudoun Now
Gifted students, on the other hand, may or may not earn high marks in school depending on a host of factors including their interest in the subject being taught, their respect for the depth of knowledge the teacher possesses and even their level of physical comfort in the classroom. Gifted students often frustrate teachers because they don’t quite live up to their potential, especially in classes that are too easy for them. Gifted children often have poor executive function skills so they lose homework and don’t know how to study for exams. Many gifted children have few friends because of their esoteric interests. Sometimes these students feel so isolated that they become depressed … even suicidal. A surprisingly large number of gifted students drop out of high school and never make it to college, despite their high innate intelligence.

While all children have gifts, not all children are “gifted” as defined by researchers and educators around the globe. The most commonly used definition is as follows: “Giftedness is asynchronous development in which advanced cognitive abilities and heightened intensity combine to create inner experiences and awareness that are qualitatively different from the norm. This asynchrony increases with higher intellectual capacity. The uniqueness of the gifted renders them particularly vulnerable and requires modifications in parenting, teaching and counseling in order for them to develop optimally.” (The Columbus Group, 1991)

What this means is that gifted children have ‘special needs’ that the typical classroom teacher does not have the bandwidth or training to address. This is why school districts go to great lengths to identify gifted students—these kids require special support in order for them to stay engaged in the learning process.


Arizona: Parents Use Voucher Money for Personal Purchases, Not Education

From Diane Ravitch
Arizona’s State Auditor identified more than $700,000 in voucher money that was mis-spent for cosmetics, music, movies, clothing, sports apparel, and other personal items. Some even tried to withdraw cash with their state-issued debit cards. The state has not recovered any of the money. The legislature passed a bill to expand the voucher program, which gives parents a debit card for their e Peres, to every student in the state. Auditing will be even more difficult. Millions will be wasted. And many of the state’s children will go without an education.


Failing Brown v. Board of Education

From Curmudgucation
It's like you have twenty kids in a cafeteria, and ten sit down with a steak dinner and the other ten get bowls of cold oatmeal, and when someone complains about it, a bunch of folks pop up to propose some complex system by which one of the oatmeal kids will be sent out to a restaurant across town. No! Just get back out in the kitchen and use the same tools and supplies that you demonstrably already have to make steak dinners for the rest of the kids.

The report quotes NEA president Lily Eskelsen-Garcia saying, in part, "Until you can say every school looks like your best public school, we have not arrived."


More students want to go to popular IPS magnet schools, but they still face barriers to getting in

From Chalkbeat
...the report also shows that some inequities in Indianapolis Public Schools still persist: There still aren’t enough seats at the city’s most sought-after magnet programs to meet the increasing demand. At three out of six of the popular Center for Inquiry and Butler University Laboratory schools, which are mostly clustered in more affluent neighborhoods, only those who live closest could get in last fall during the first round of admissions — and they claimed most of those schools’ open seats.


What’s Wrong with America’s Schools? David Berliner Blames America’s Failure to Eradicate Child Poverty

From Jan Resseger
Despite lots of evidence about why we shouldn’t use test scores as a measure of school quality, for nearly twenty years, government programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have taught people to judge public schools by their standardized test scores. Last week the Washington Post‘s Valerie Strauss published an in-depth reflection by David Berliner on what standardized test scores really measure. David Berliner is an expert, a Regents’ professor emeritus at Arizona State University, former president of the American Educational Research Association, and former dean of the College of Education at Arizona State.

Berliner is blunt in his analysis: “(T)he big problems of American education are not in America’s schools. So, reforming the schools, as Jean Anyon once said, is like trying to clean the air on one side of a screen door. It cannot be done! It’s neither this nation’s teachers nor its curriculum that impede the achievement of our children. The roots of America’s educational problems are in the numbers of Americans who live in poverty. America’s educational problems are predominantly in the numbers of kids and their families who are homeless; whose families have no access to Medicaid or other medical services. These are often families to whom low-birth-weight babies are frequently born, leading to many more children needing special education… Our educational problems have their roots in families where food insecurity or hunger is a regular occurrence, or where those with increased lead levels in their bloodstream get no treatments before arriving at a school’s doorsteps. Our problems also stem from the harsh incarceration laws that break up families instead of counseling them and trying to keep them together. And our problems relate to harsh immigration policies that keep millions of families frightened to seek out better lives for themselves and their children...


Mike Pence’s Fake Rabbi Was a Defrocked Fake Rabbi: A Fake Fake Rabbi

From Diane Ravitch
Mike Pence held a rally in Michigan. He wanted to show his respect to the victims of the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The “rabbi” invited to speak was not Jewish. He was a convert to Christianity and part of a group called “Jews for Jesus,” which seeks to convert Jews to Christianity.

But now it turns out that he was defrocked as a “rabbi.”

He was not only a fake rabbi, he was a fake fake rabbi.


Betsy DeVos’ Family Gives $2 Million to Far-Right Candidates

From Diane Ravitch
“Even by the loose standards of U.S. campaign finance laws—and President Donald Trump’s blatant corruption—the donations by the family members of a Cabinet official have been brazen. In February 2018, Richard DeVos, Secretary DeVos’ father-in-law, gave $1 million to the Freedom Partners Action Fund—a political action fund that has long been associated with far-right causes. Over the past year, the DeVos family has also given $350,000 to the Republican Congressional Leadership Fund and another $400,000 to the Republican National Committee.

“The DeVoses have also donated to specific candidates for federal and state office. Wisconsin’s far-right firebrand, Gov. Scott Walker (R), for example, has received more than $635,000 over the past decade from the DeVos family—including $30,000 in 2018. Bill Schuette, Michigan’s Republican attorney general who is running for governor, received almost $40,000 over the past year.


Lawmakers must stand with our public schools

From John Stoffel in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The most disheartening conversation I have had in over 25 years of elementary education was with a mother of a student. She introduced me to her son in this manner: “This is Joseph (not his real name). He's a bad kid. I don't like him and I don't know what to do with him. He's your problem now. I go to court next week, and I think I'll just ask the judge to take him.”

Two things were clear to me after listening to these comments. First, Joseph was not a “bad kid.” Second, most of Joseph's problems were caused by his mother's actions. One may even be inclined to feel anger toward his mother. I know I did. I suppressed my emotions because I knew her son needed my full attention and support.

The mother's casting blame on a “problem” of her own creation is analogous to Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas's response to the results of Indiana's standardized testing scores: “What the hell are we doing, putting government in charge of educating our children?”

One would hope that Lucas' response is that of an outlier. However, since the tenured supermajority tend to vote in lockstep with Lucas, his words unveil an entity that seems to have a complete disdain for public education. Public schools should be viewed as a common good, but similar to Joseph's mother, the Republican-controlled legislature seems to have a distorted perspective of their duty and of the results of their decisions.

On educational policies, the Republican super-majority has voted to add layers of stifling bureaucracy, create departments to circumvent the state superintendent, and divest hundreds of millions of dollars from public school districts to support “choice” – an unfounded ideology.


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