Monday, December 23, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 23, 2019

Here are links to last week's 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.

NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It will return on January 6, 2020. Keep up with our education updates on Facebook and Twitter.

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.


The Failure of Betsy DeVos and 30 Years of Corporate Influence on Public Schools!

From Nancy Bailey
Frustrated by public schools? Look no further than the corporate education reformers and what they have done to public education.

Education Secretary DeVos and her corporate billionaire friends have been chipping away at the fabric of democratic public schools for over thirty years!

The problems we see in public schools today are largely a result of what they did to schools, the high-stakes testing and school closures, intentional defunding, ugly treatment of teachers, lack of support staff, segregated charter schools, vouchers that benefit the wealthy, Common Core State Standards, intrusive online data collection, and diminishing special education services.

Big business waged a battle on teachers and their schools years ago. The drive was to create a business model to profit from tax dollars. Now they want to blame teachers for their corporate-misguided blunders! It’s part of their plan to make schools so unpleasant, parents will have no choice but to leave.


Why is Accountability Too Much to Ask of Charter Schools?

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
If you hire someone to buy your groceries, you’ll probably ask for a receipt.

That’s really all education advocates want from the charter school industry.

Charter schools are bankrolled with tax dollars but often run by private businesses.

Is it too much to ask these businesses to account for how they spend the money?

Apparently it is because Jeanne Allen has been sending her representatives all over the country to harass Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and any other candidate with the audacity to demand charter schools be transparent and accountable.

Yesterday she wrote another blistering press release with the title:

“Democratic Candidates Asked to Listen to Voices of Struggling Parents Following Them Across Nation”
Allen is CEO and Founder of the Center for Education Reform – a billionaire backed lobbying firm for school privatization.

Not exactly a “struggling parent” or anyone who speaks for them. But she is a former member of the Heritage Foundation and current member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

She doesn’t speak for parents. She speaks for the billionaires who pay her salary.


Peter Greene: Congress to DeVos: “Sorry, Nope, No Way”

From Diane Ravitch
There is good news and bad news. Peter Greene thinks it’s mostly good news. I’d say there is both.

Congress did not appropriate a penny for Betsy DeVos’s top priority, her $5 billion request for vouchers (aka “education freedom scholarships”). Sorry, Betsy, nada. Even Republican Congressmen and Senators represent public school parents.

But Congress appropriated $440 million for Betsy’s charter school slush fund, otherwise known as the federal Charter Schools Program. The CSP is a swamp of fraud, waste, and abuse, as the Network for Public Education demonstrated in its “Asleep at the Wheel” and “Still Asleep at the Wheel” reports, which showed that more than $1 billion in federal funds were wasted on charters that either never opened or closed not long after opening...


Greater Clark County Schools discuss plan to replace art teachers with 'classified specialists'

Greater Clark County Schools said it can save more than $600,000 by making changes to its art programs.

District officials laid out a plan during a Tuesday board meeting to do away with certified art teachers by replacing them with "classified specialists." These specialists would not have to be licensed and would make roughly $17 an hour.


Goodbye to By: North Side Coach Hey dies at 91

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Few better embodied what Indiana high school basketball was in its full flower, when there were hundreds of teams in hundreds of tiny dots on the map, and come March they all went into the same hopper. By was the quintessential product of that era, a Fort Wayne boy who played at Concordia and then came back to town as an assistant at Central and then head coach at his alma mater, and then went on to spend 31 decorated years at North Side.

By the time he gave up the whistle, he'd won 550 games across 34 seasons and took Moser and North to the state finals in 1965, where they lost to Billy Keller and Indianapolis Washington in the state championship game.

But somewhere in all of that, there was more.


Nancy Bailey: It’s Wrong to Force Four- and Five-Year Olds to Read!

From Diane Ravitch
With No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Common Core State Standards, some adults have been led to believe that four- and five-year-old children should read by the end of kindergarten. Preschoolers are pushed to be ready for formal reading instruction by the time they enter kindergarten.

This is a dangerous idea rooted in corporate school reform. Children who struggle to read might inaccurately believe they have a problem, or reading could become a chore they hate.

Pushing children to focus on reading means they miss listening and speaking skills, precursors to reading. These skills are developed through play, which leads to interest in words and a reason to want to read.


Can public schools have Christmas trees? What’s true — and not true — about religious expression in public schools.

From the Answer Sheet
  • While schools cannot initiate or sponsor religious activities — including prayer — nobody can stop students from praying to whatever or whomever they want, whenever they want as long, as they do it privately and don’t try to force others to follow.
  • Religious groups can meet at public schools.
  • Religious music can be played in public schools when the overall focus of the activity is not religious.
  • Anybody who wants to say “Merry Christmas” is legally permitted to do so.
  • Christmas trees can be brought into a school and decorated because a court has ruled the Christmas tree is a secular object, much like the Jewish menorah. Lighting the candles in a menorah, however, would have religious significance and therefore wouldn’t be allowed.
  • Religion can be taught as an academic subject, not as an effort to proselytize.


Monday, December 16, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 16, 2019

Here are links to last week's 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.


Charter Schools USA loses charter bid, giving IPS a shot at reclaiming takeover schools

The charter board voted against allowing a shady, failing charter operation to help run three Indianapolis schools. Unfortunately, IPS probably doesn’t have the resources it needs, or the will required, to keep the schools in operation without teaming up with other nefarious groups.

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana Charter School Board denied charters Friday for three Indianapolis turnaround schools — a stunning move that could spell the end to the Florida-based Charter Schools USA’s operations in Indianapolis.

As a result, the three Indianapolis schools — Howe High School, Manual High School, and Emma Donnan Middle School — face the prospect of another rocky transition to new management, or even possible closure.

But the board’s 4-3 votes against the charters, which elicited gasps from the audience, marked a major victory for Indianapolis Public Schools, which could win back the three schools that have been under state takeover since 2011.


North Carolina: Leandro Report Sets a New Direction for the State’s Schools; Will the Politicians Listen?

From Diane Ravitch
A report on a 25-year-old court case in North Carolina was released yesterday. The long-anticipated report rebukes the past decade of education policy in the state, led and directed by the Republican majority in the state’s General Assembly. The powers that be don’t like to spend money on education.
...The report confirms what North Carolinians have been saying for years: The state has consistently failed to give every child in this state access to the education they deserve.


A new Indianapolis education PAC wants to bypass controversy. That could be hard.

The fact that charters drain money away from public schools is a fact that cannot be wished away by pretending it’s not happening.

From Chalkbeat*
Jasmin Shaheed-Young has a vision for a political organization that focuses on education — while avoiding deeply contested, emotionally fraught debates over school choice.

Shaheed-Young says she wants the new political action committee she founded, known as RISE Indy, to be driven by community priorities and focus on unifying issues, such as improving student achievement, rather than the debate between charter and traditional public schools.

“There’s so much rhetoric around what is the school model? Who is funding what? But kids are continuing to fail,” said Shaheed-Young, a former vice president for a real estate development firm and Democratic fundraiser. “How do we approach looking at this as a quality of life issue — so everyone feels like they need to do something and there’s not this apathy?”

Although its agenda is not yet fleshed out, Shaheed-Young’s fledgling political group is poised to play a significant role in politics because of its close ties to influential school choice advocates. But those same connections mean that it will be hard for the group to avoid the volatile politics that have come to define Indianapolis Public Schools board elections.


Charter Schools Exploit Children of Color

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
How do charter schools disadvantage the students enrolled there?

Like other vulture capitalist enterprises, they exploit the students they purport to serve by convincing people of color to accept fewer services than they already get at authentic public schools.

Authentic public schools invariably are run by school directors elected from the community who have to make all possible decisions in public and present their records for review.

Charter schools are permitted to run without elected school boards. Decisions are often made by appointed bureaucrats behind closed doors. They are not required to hold public meetings or present school documents as public records. Parents have no way of having their voices heard except that they can take it or leave it.

Authentic public schools have to use all their funding for the benefit of the students.

Charter schools can cut student services and pocket the savings. This is true regardless of whether they are designated for-profit or non-profit.


Report: Federal government wasted millions of dollars on charter schools that never opened

From the Answer Sheet
The new report found:
  • The disbursement of more than $1 billion during the program’s first decade — from 1995 to 2005 — was never monitored, and there is no complete public record of which schools received the funds because the Education Department never required states to report where the money went. During that period, California received $191 million, Florida $158.4 million and Michigan $64.6 million.
  • The overall rate of failed charter projects from 2006 to 2014 was 37 percent, with some states posting a much higher failure rate. In Iowa, for example, 11 charter schools received grants and 10 failed after receiving a total of $3.66 million. The failure rate exceeded 50 percent in a number of states, including Georgia, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland and Virginia. In California, 37 percent failed to open or stay open, after winning nearly $103 million in CSP funding.
  • Although Congress forbids for-profit operators from directly receiving CSP grants, some of them still were able to benefit. The report says 357 schools in the database were run by for-profit chains, for a total cost of $125 million in federal CSP start-up costs. Most of that money was spent in Michigan and in Florida.


Ohio Expands Its Failed Voucher Program, and Most School Districts Will Lose Funding

A study of the Ohio voucher program showed that it failed to improve student achievement. The decision by the state to expand the program shows that the purpose of vouchers were never really to help children. Instead, vouchers are simply a way to divert public funds to religious schools.

From Diane Ravitch
Three years ago, the pro-charter, pro-voucher Thomas B. Fordham Institute published a study of Ohio’s voucher program. The study, conducted by David Figlio and Krzysztof Karbownik of Northwestern University is called “Evaluation of Ohio’s EdChoice Scholarship Program: Selection, Competition, and Performance Effects.”

The study concluded that the voucher program was failing to improve student achievement.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.


Monday, December 9, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 9, 2019

Here are links to last week's 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.


Buttigieg's Education Plan Released

Pete Buttigieg releases $1 trillion-plus plan for early-childhood and K-12 education

First a comment from Facebook about this article from Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer of ICPE...
I, along with several public school teachers, administrators, & supporters, met with Mayor Pete's husband on Friday to discuss public education just before this came out. First of all, I am glad that Democrats are (finally) moving in the right direction when it comes to education policy--something that was never discussed when this attack began. I am glad for much of Buttigieg's platform here (like early childhood). BUT (yes, there's a but):

1) It's easy to say you will fund things but without a plan (and taxing the uber-wealthy billionaires who keep meddling in public education--like Reed Hastings, privatizer/enemy of public ed who held a big fundraiser in July for Pete's campaign, would be reassuring to me. I worry about the company he keeps. )

2) He is not joining the national NAACP, nor Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, with a moratorium on federal funding of charter schools. This is hugely problematic. You cannot say you are helping fund equity all the while funding charter schools (which are NOT public schools--they are PRIVATELY run and not accountable to the public thru a publicly elected board!) which take away engaged families and funding from public schools. You cannot support a competition for resources while saying you care about equity.

3) Saying you will ban "for profit" charter schools shows a lack of understanding on how charter schools profit off of our most vulnerable children and the tax dollars siphoned away from public schools.

"The more than $1 trillion in Buttigieg’s plan would be spent over 10 years and would come from “greater tax enforcement” on the wealthy and corporations, according to a Buttigieg campaign spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He would not impose a new tax on the super-rich, said the spokesperson, who did not detail how much money the mayor believes he can realize from uncollected taxes."
From the Answer Sheet
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is unveiling a broad new education plan on Saturday that pledges to spend $700 billion over a decade to create a high-quality child care and preschool system that he said would reach all children from birth to age 5 and create 1 million jobs.

The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., also promised to spend $425 billion to strengthen America’s K-12 public schools, targeting federal investments and policy to help historically marginalized students. He would boost funding for schools in high-poverty areas as well as for students with disabilities, and promote voluntary school integration. And he said he would ensure that all charter schools — which are publicly funded but privately operated — undergo the same accountability measures as schools in publicly funded districts.

With Buttigieg rising in some polls in the early state races for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, new scrutiny is being given to his proposals and his efforts to win over African American voters, who constitute a key part of the party’s base but who have not largely warmed to his campaign.

His newly released education plan shows that Buttigieg, like the other Democratic candidates, would move the country’s federal education policy away from that of the Trump administration. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has put her focus not on the traditional public school districts that enroll the vast majority of American schoolchildren, but on expanding alternatives to them, such as charter schools and programs that use federal funding for private and religious school tuition.

Mayor Pete on Education in South Bend

From Diane Ravitch

The following two articles go together. In the first, Diane Ravitch shared a blog post from Fred Klonsky in which he takes Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg to task for being slow to discover that South Bend Schools are segregated.

In the second article below, Diane Ravitch issues an apology to Buttigieg on the basis of a response by some South Bend readers who explain in more detail how the city schools have been working to keep their schools integrated. Be sure to read both.

Fred Klonsky: Pete Buttigieg Discovers Segregated Schools in His Hometown
Fred Klonsky writes with amazement that Mayor Pete Buttigieg just realized that there are segregated schools in his hometown of South Bend.

He acknowledges that he was slow to come to this realization.

CORRECTION: An Apology to Pete Buttigieg and the Racially Integrated Public Schools of South Bend, Indiana
Several readers of this blog who live in South Bend, Indiana, wrote to say that Fred Klonsky is wrong about Pete Buttigieg and the status of racial integration in the public schools of South Bend.

One native of South Bend wrote as follows.

Fred Klonsky’s article is simplistic and wildly inaccurate and Mr. Buttigieg’s statement about “school districts” is absolutely correct.

First, South Bend Community School Corporation is under a desegregation consent decree, and for many years, almost all of its schools have had black student enrollments within plus-or-minus 15 percentage points of the district-wide average. That is a common, court-accepted standard for a racially integrated school.

Second, South Bend is a diverse school district, with overall enrollment around 35% black, 10-15% Hispanic and about 50% non-Hispanic white. In contrast, suburban Penn Harris Madison school district is more than 90% non-Hispanic white. So, that is the context of Mayor Pete’s context.


Justin Parmenter: NC Software Giant Pays to Send State Legislators to ALEC Meetings

From Diane Ravitch
NBCT high school teacher and blogger Justin Parmenter discovered a shocking fact: a company in the state called SAS pays to send state legislators to the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a far-right anti-public school organization that writes model legislation. SAS sells software to districts and states to evaluate teacher effectiveness. The SAS software is very controversial because it’s algorithms are secret and proprietary. Teachers in Houston sued and won a court judgement against SAS, when the judge ruled that its secret processes were arbitrary and denied due process to teachers, who had no way to know how they were judged or if the calculations were accurate.


Pay raise touted for educators: But no action to be taken in 2020 session, Holcomb says

Note...there are no teachers on the seven member teacher pay commission. There are education professionals on the non-voting committee which advises the panel.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he wants Indiana teachers to have salaries in the top three in the Midwest. But not any time soon.

“It's dollars and cents. I want to adequately and fairly compensate our teachers but I also want to steal some teachers from other states,” he said during an annual Legislative Conference hosted by Bingham Greenebaum Doll.

He said a teacher pay commission that is currently working on recommendations could have a report on how to fill the gap in the spring – after legislators have ended their session. Discussion could begin then for crafting the next two-year budget in 2021.

This is despite thousands of teachers coming to the Statehouse several weeks ago to fight for a number of initiatives.

Did the Red for Ed rally affect the governor’s upcoming agenda?

From Fort Wayne's NBC
As for education, and that massive Red for Ed rally last month that featured about 14,000 teachers and supporters on the lawn of the statehouse?

"What does that say to you, that so many that gathered supported that one cause? Well it underscores what we know and that is education is a priority at every level," Holcomb says.

The son of a public school teacher, Holcomb says he doesn't want teachers to leave schools for jobs in the private sector, even though he says the state already spends more than half of its total revenue on education -- which is why he says he set up the teacher pay commission to study the issue and make recommendations.

"I understand about the salaries, but what about issues that the legislature has imposed like additional hours for continuing education? Or tying student performance to how much money is allocated for schools or teachers?Those are some burdens as teachers would call it. I think they're tired of lip service and they want to see some action," Corinne Rose says.

"They're going to see some action. They're going to see some action, and you'll hear some recommendations from me incorporated into my agenda that I'll release next week. They've not only been heard, they'll be acted on," Holcomb replies.


IPS finds a powerful charter ally in its 11th hour bid to win back takeover schools

Will IPS schools, getting out of the bad deal with the shady Charters USA, now team up with Christel House- the bunch that Tony Bennett changed the grades for?

From Chalkbeat*
Indianapolis Public Schools has a powerful new ally in its last-minute campaign to win back control of three schools taken over by the state — and prevent a Florida-based charter manager from running the schools indefinitely.

Christel House Academy, a politically influential Indianapolis charter network, wants to relocate its southside school to Manual High School if oversight of that campus is returned to the district, IPS and Christel House officials told Chalkbeat Tuesday. Christel House would take over the campus through an innovation partnership, allowing the network to manage the school while the district monitors performance and gets credit for its enrollment and academic results.


Trump Administration Defends Christian School That Discriminates Against LGBT Students and Teachers

From Diane Ravitch
Politico Morning Education reports that the Trump administration has joined a court case on the side of a Christian school in Maryland that was removed from the state’s voucher program because it discriminates against LGBT students and teachers.

This is not surprising. The DeVos family has funded anti-gay organizations and state referenda for many years. The Trump administration takes the view that if religious organizations discriminate, that is no one’s business, even though they are receiving public funds.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.


Monday, December 2, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 2, 2019

Here are links to last week's 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.


Teachers Are Not Responsible for Student Growth or Achievement

While teachers are the most important in-school variable for student success in school, a variety of out-of-school factors can have a much greater impact on student achievement. Legislators should look at their role in those out of school factors.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
It doesn’t make that much difference whether you look at growth or achievement. If you’re holding teachers accountable for either, you’re expecting us to be able to do things beyond our powers as mere mortal human beings.

I hate to break it to you, but teachers are not magical.

We cannot MAKE things happen in student brains.

Nothing we say or do can cause a specific reaction inside a human mind.

That’s just not how learning and teaching works.

We can INFLUENCE learning.

We can try to create some kind of optimum condition that is most likely to spark learning.

But we cannot make it happen like turning on a switch or lighting a candle.


Charter Schools USA finds support for charter applications as critics stay silent at public hearing

What IPS has done in the past (pairing up with charters/innovation) has come around to haunt them, and now these parents trust IPS even less than they trust a failing charter company. Very sad.

From Chalkbeat*
Howe, Manual, and Emma Donnan Middle School are expected to exit state takeover at the end of this school year. With that transition about six months away, the futures of the schools are still in limbo.

Monday’s hearing focused on whether the state charter board should grant approval for the schools to continue under the management of a group tied to Charter Schools USA, which would essentially cement their separation from Indianapolis Public Schools. The state charter board is expected to vote on the matter at a December 13 meeting.


New Orleans: Parents and Students at Two Low-Performing Charter Schools Fight to Keep Them Open

From Diane Ravitch
The subtext of this is that there a few charters that began early on that were controlled by black former OPSB teachers and administrators that were islands of local control (MLK in particular) in a white-dominated, outsider controlled charter system. These schools have struggled in part because they would not cherry-pick and force out challenging students (Treme in particular) and have always been resented by the NSNO (New Schools for New Orleans) people. They have also moved toward unionizing lately.

But it is a good example of how some charters build their own constituencies, even if they are failing, because they are perceived as more locally and black controlled. I imagine the school board will give them a pass just to avoid the conflict.

NEIFPE Members in Indy, November 19, 2019. L-R Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer (ICPE), Michelle Smith (ICPE),
Terry Springer (NEIFPE), Jennifer McCormick (Indiana Ed Superintendent), Donna Roof (NEIFPE),
Jenny Robinson (ICPE), Kay Maren (ICPE).


Teachers' rally exceeds expectations

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Vicky Lomont, a former FWCS teacher who is now an EACS instructor, sat not far from Thiele. Lomont said she is frustrated with lawmakers, who for years have supported voucher systems while neglecting traditional public schools.

“I would like to see my representative listen to me, rather than his party,” Lomont said.

At the rally, Kathleen Cagle, a math teacher at New Tech Academy at Wayne High School, said testing has become an omnipresent force in schools.

“Every year, we're asked to do more and more and more, and none of it is to help the students,” she said.

NACS teacher Kristen Bowland arrived at the Capitol building around 8:30 a.m. Nov. 19.

“We felt like we were part of history,” she said. “It's worth the fight. I'm doing it for our kids.”

Red for Ed rallying cry: Kids deserve more

The last elected Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction reminds us that we need to support our public schools through the ballot box. Every time you vote for the governor, a state representative, or a state senator you're voting on school issues. Support public education!

From Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Kids deserve educators who take a stand against Indiana's disconnected education policy and the issue of inadequate funding. While many, including myself, have been champions for public education for decades, it took a red wave crashing into the Statehouse to finally catch the attention of the lawmakers inside. Frustrations regarding funding inequities, compensation shortfalls and policies void of practitioner input were vocalized by constituents from all 92 counties.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.


Sunday, December 1, 2019

Lawmakers receive an education

This letter to the editor by NEIFPE co-founder Terry Springer appeared in the December 1, 2019 edition of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Lawmakers receive an education
The Nov. 19 Red for Ed Rally was an inspiring day. Motivated teachers, parents, administrators, retired teachers and students donned red and gathered at the Statehouse to express their frustration over the conditions the legislature has imposed on them and the children of Indiana.

To be clear to those who think teachers should not have left their classrooms and districts should not have closed, this rally has been a long time coming. It has taken nearly 10 years for the legislation inspired during Mitch Daniels' administration and enhanced during Mike Pence's and now Eric Holcomb's to create the conditions that finally led teachers to say enough is enough. Most teachers would rather be in class with their kids than standing outside for hours on a chilly November day.

Teachers don't rally and protest at the drop of a hat. It has taken nearly 10 years of the punitive system developed by the legislature to push teachers to the point that they pushed back. It has taken nearly 10 years for parents and the community to understand the destructive impact on their public schools and the negative impact on their children.

Public schools are struggling to provide the best education for all children. No matter how the governor and legislators extol the “historic” funding for education in Indiana in the latest budget, the spin does not accurately reflect how little relief it provides to replace the dollars communities around the state are losing because of vouchers or the millions spent on ineffective and harmful testing.

The conditions that inspired Red for Ed won't change unless we take action – everyone who went to Indianapolis, everyone who demonstrated in Fort Wayne, everyone who participated in a walk-in at a school, everyone who wore red on Tuesday in support of teachers and schools must keep the legislators' focus on education in Indiana.

We need to get informed and educate our legislators about the consequences of their lawmaking.

Terry Springer

Fort Wayne

Monday, November 25, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Nov 25, 2019

Here are links to last week's 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.

The Red for Ed Rally in Indianapolis filled NEIFPE's social media this week. Normally we post items with more than one-thousand hits and the most popular pieces will hit four or five thousand. This week's most popular post topped 24 thousand hits.

We've grouped articles together, and just linked to some to save space.


We asked Indiana teachers why they are rallying. Here’s what they said.

Why are teachers rallying tomorrow? It is NOT all about pay!

From Chalkbeat*
Better working conditions, higher pay, increased funding for public school classrooms, less emphasis on standardized testing and more respect — these are some of the things teachers say they will be fighting for Tuesday at a massive Indiana Statehouse rally that’s expected to draw as many as 12,000 educators.

Another Reason Why I March #RedforEd

From NEIFPE member Donna Roof
Phyllis would be proud of this Day of Action, yet she would also understand the difficult decisions public school officials would face and the effects of such decisions on parents and students. She would know that teachers would be conflicted about taking the day or not out of concern for their students. However, she believed so strongly in public schools that she would see the urgency and necessity of having a Day of Action. Like one of her favorite quotations goes: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; in fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)

Despite all her worries, she would greatly appreciate all that administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, community members, and students are doing to save public education. Her heart would be filled with pride because she loved teaching.

Indiana governor won’t see big Statehouse teacher rally

Holcomb’s office says he will be in Florida on Tuesday for a Republican Governors Association conference that was scheduled months ago.

His trip comes as teacher unions say more than 100 school districts around the state will be closed while their teachers head to the Indianapolis protest.

Ed rally expected to draw throng

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
“It's our presence that matters,” said Sally Sloan, executive director of American Federation of Teachers Indiana.

“We are collectively committed to fighting for the investments our children need to thrive, as well as the professional freedom of our teachers to serve individual students in a way that honors our years of specialized training and experience.”


Teachers' rally plans disruptive, necessary

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
If lawmakers thought additional funding would appease teachers, they were wrong. Teachers' dissatisfaction is about far more than paychecks. It's about the legislature's insistence on a failed and punitive standardized testing program. It's about policies that favor charter schools and taxpayer-supported private and parochial schools. It's about baseless licensing requirements and the general disrespect the General Assembly has shown to the teaching profession.

EDITORIAL: Canceling class isn't the best way for teachers to be heard

Make no mistake: There are a number of serious issues teachers are trying to spotlight in this demonstration.

Average teacher pay in the Hoosier state is behind that of neighboring states, meaning some of the best teachers don't stay here — or never even consider teaching in Indiana.

A statewide teacher shortage results.

Many schools must turn to voters every few years via referendum to generate enough funding for needed expansion or renovation in our public school infrastructure or programming.

But is shuttering schools and walking off the job for the day the best way to drive home these very real concerns?

Is leaving student instruction up to eLearning via computer the best way for teachers to reinforce their worth to the public?


Jennifer McCormick: Red for Ed eclipsed politics as usual at Statehouse

From Pal Item
Kids deserve more. Kids deserved this mobilization of professional solidarity. Given the state mandate of 180 instructional days for traditional public schools, parents can be assured schools will meet this obligation despite many district closures on this unprecedented day. Responsible citizenship is not easy and often requires difficult decisions. Kids deserve purposeful inclusion of educator’s voices into our state’s decision making. Without a doubt, educators and supporters will continue to advocate for Hoosier students, as our kids deserve nothing less. Championing public education cannot be just a moment; it must be a movement.

NEIFPE Members in Indy, November 19, 2019. L-R Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer (ICPE), Michelle Smith (ICPE),
Terry Springer (NEIFPE), Jennifer McCormick (Indiana Ed Superintendent), Donna Roof (NEIFPE),
Jenny Robinson (ICPE), Kay Maren (ICPE).

Ball State students, professors hold 'Red for Ed' protest on campus

From the Ball State Daily News
Alison Schwartz, EEJ member and senior elementary education major, said it’s important to advocate for public education.

“This is important because our teachers are important, and our kids are important,” Schwartz said. “If you can’t fully fund your teachers and your schools and support them, then how are you supporting your kids?”

As part of her major’s concentration, she said she works with students who don’t speak English as their first language.

“Those students don't always have somebody who's standing up for them and rooting for them,” Schwartz said. “And those people who are standing up and rooting for them aren’t getting the resources that they need to do it well.”

147 Indiana school districts cancel classes as teachers protest at the state Capitol

From CNN
Indiana State Teachers Association President Keith Gambill said teachers spent the day outside the Capitol with the intention of showing them they are at a crisis point.

"We believe that we have made a point and have put legislators on notice that it is time to change the way they are legislating public schools in Indiana and to remind them that there is an election in November," Gambill said.

NEIFPE members also rallied in Fort Wayne.

‘This can’t start and end today’: Thousands of teachers flood the Statehouse in Red For Ed rally

“Teachers rally because other methods of telling their story have been “ignored, dismissed or discouraged,”

From Chalkbeat*
Republican leaders largely laid low during the rally, with the notable exception of State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick.

“Indiana kids deserve to have adequate and equitable funding,” she said during a press conference. “It’s easy to shift the blame. It’s easy to blame local superintendents … It starts upstairs in the Statehouse.”

McCormick made an unscheduled appearance at AFT’s gathering, surrounded on stage by Democrat lawmakers. She and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Eddie Melton walked out together to greet the crowd Tuesday morning.

“This is Day One of many days,” McCormick said when addressing teachers. “This can’t start and end today.”

Thousands of Indiana teachers convene for massive 'Red for Ed' rally

From ABC News
Nearly half of Indiana's public schools will be closed on Tuesday as thousands of teachers descend on the state's capital for a "Red for Ed" protest.

Over 100 school districts in the state have closed after the massive amount of teachers took the day off for the rally, according to the IndyStar. This equates to approximately 45% of public school students -- or more than half a million children -- getting the day off from school.

Thousands of Teachers Pack Indiana Statehouse, Calling for Increased Pay and More School Funding

Several thousand teachers wearing red surrounded the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday to call for better pay and more respect from the Republican-dominated state government in a protest that closed more than half of the state’s school districts for the day.

The union-organized rally represented Indiana’s biggest such teacher protest amid a wave of educator activism across the country over the past two years.

Teachers chanted, “Fund our schools,” and “Put kids first,” as hundreds of them lined entrances to the Statehouse, many holding handmade signs with sayings such as, “Less Money on Testing, More Money on Students.” Teachers with marching band instruments played “We’re Not Gonna Take It” from the Statehouse steps.


Indiana Superintendent of the Year Phil Downs

Voucher programs hurting rural school districts like Lakeland, Westview and Prairie Heights

From The News Sun
Downs maintains that his research shows the school voucher program took away nearly $1 million in funding from LaGrange County’s three school systems last year alone, despite the fact that vouchers aren’t being used by local students. Instead, that money is used to fund education for students at private schools in larger metropolitan areas like Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.

Downs said one of the biggest myths about school vouchers is that students use that program to escape failing public schools. The program was touted as giving children and their parents a choice in education. Indiana educates more than 1 million students a year, yet according to the state’s own numbers, only 274 students statewide used the vouchers to leave a failing school system. Lawmakers have changed the original requirements that students needed to have first attended public school to qualify for a voucher. Downs said state statistics show nowadays that 57% of all vouchers used in Indiana fund education for students who have never attended a single day in a public school.

Speaker of the House Bosma Announces Retirement

House Speaker Brian Bosma announces plans to step down at the end of 2020 session

House Speaker Brian Bosma will step down from his position.

Bosma, who’s served in the state legislature since 1986, made the announcement Tuesday. He’ll end his time as Speaker of the House at the end of this session and has no plans to run for re-election. He will move to a “national legislative campaign role.”

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.


Monday, November 18, 2019

Another Reason Why I March #RedforEd

NEIFPE member Donna Roof posted this on Facebook.
Another Reason Why I March #RedforEd

Back in 2011, Phyllis Bush and I began to notice that things were changing in public education due to education reform—and not necessarily in good ways for teachers and students. It was at a town hall meeting where Phyllis had her first “Norma Rae moment.” And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

We attended the Save Our Schools March in Washington, D.C. that summer. We became fan girls of Diane Ravitch. We realized that things happening in Indiana were the exact, same things happening in other states, too. We brought back what we had learned there and then organized with like-minded individuals to form Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education (NEIFPE). If someone had told us then that 8 years later the same fight for public education would be going on, we wouldn’t have believed him.

It is amazing to see so many public education advocates coming together to be at the Statehouse on November 19. Phyllis envisioned such a day when public education advocates from across the state would come together to fight against the reformers and the deleterious legislation that has adversely affected public schools, their teachers, their students, and their communities.

Her public education advocacy was known locally, statewide, and nationally. She also served on the Network for Public Education (NPE) Board of Directors. Despite being retired, she worked tirelessly to inform people about what was happening in/to public schools. When she gave a call to action, she led by example by writing letters to the editor, writing to the legislators, testifying at the Statehouse, and helping and encouraging others to get involved in the fight to save public schools.

Phyllis would be proud of this Day of Action, yet she would also understand the difficult decisions public school officials would face and the effects of such decisions on parents and students. She would know that teachers would be conflicted about taking the day or not out of concern for their students. However, she believed so strongly in public schools that she would see the urgency and necessity of having a Day of Action. Like one of her favorite quotations goes: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; in fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)

Despite all her worries, she would greatly appreciate all that administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, community members, and students are doing to save public education. Her heart would be filled with pride because she loved teaching.

I am excited to attend this event and see the thousands of people there, yet I have a bit of sadness in knowing she won’t be by my side to experience it, for she passed away on March 19 of this year. However, I know that she will be there in spirit.

November 19 marks 8 months that she has been gone. There will be some of us there wearing a button with her picture to honor her memory and all of her public education advocacy. Over 15,000 people will be there to march on the Statehouse that day! How wonderful is that!

Let’s keep fighting the good fight and keep her legacy alive. It’s the right thing to do for the kids. It’s past time to bring back the joy of learning and teaching!


In Case You Missed It – Nov 18, 2019

Here are links to last week's 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 is a warning shot’: Indiana’s Red for Ed rally isn’t a strike, but it’s closing schools anyway

Hoosier teachers are sending a warning! Will legislators finally listen?

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana teachers aren’t going on strike, but experts say they are putting lawmakers on notice.

Tuesday’s fast-growing rally is expected to cancel school for half of the state’s students while as many as 12,000 teachers descend on the Statehouse to make a list of demands, including more funding and higher pay.

“This is a warning shot,” said Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, a Carr professor of labor and employment law at Indiana University. “This is a sign of how serious the problem is and how unified the teachers are.”

FWCS to close for Red for Ed Day

Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS), the largest public school district in the state, has decided it will close to allow its teachers to go to the RedforEd March in Indianapolis on November 19.

Fort Wayne Community Schools will close schools on Tuesday – Red for Ed Day – as hundreds of teachers plan to rally in Indianapolis.
FWCS Superintendent, Wendy Robinson included the following in her letter to teachers about Red for Ed Day.

From Wendy Robinson
Beyond Tuesday, I ask you to think about what kind of action you will take to ensure this is not just a one day event. What will you do between Nov. 20, 2019, and Nov. 3, 2020, to create a long-lasting change? The State did not reach this point with public education overnight, and it won’t be fixed in a day. There has been a long, concerted effort to systematically dismantle public education through standardized testing, constantly changing accountability systems and pouring money into private schools. We have been sounding the warnings for years. To change things now will require just as much planning and effort, if not more. True change will only come through legislative action, and that won’t happen if the same people continue to have control of the rule book. While I appreciate your passion for Tuesday’s rally, don’t let it end there.

Holcomb shares teacher concerns, doesn’t criticize closings

Governor Holcomb claims to be waiting for the teacher pay commission to make recommendation on teacher pay...a commission which has no active teachers or school leaders included in its members.

The Republican governor said he was waiting for a teacher pay commission he appointed in February to make recommendations on increasing salaries by the end of 2020.

“We are going to have a gap, still, to fill,” Holcomb said. “That teacher pay commission is what I am going to be paying very close attention to, that menu of options on how to bridge that gap.”

Education advocacy groups estimated this year a 9% funding increase was needed to boost average teacher pay to the midpoint of Indiana’s neighboring states. Republican state schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick has cited a study showing Indiana as the state with the lowest teacher salary increases since 2002.

Indiana education leader tweets about upcoming teachers’ rally

Many school districts in Indiana are using eLearning Days and professional development days to accommodate teachers taking the day off for the Red for Ed March in Indianapolis on November 19. Could that be why state legislators are suddenly interested in how those days are used? "Local control," formerly a Republican talking point, is once again in danger...

From WISHTV.com8
Jennifer McCormick’s tweet read:

“Since Jan. 2017, I have not been asked for data representing IN districts’ local choice surrounding the usage of differing instructional delivery platforms.

“Any idea why policymakers are now asking for data about eLearning Days and sch. cancellation waiver days?”

“Policymakers” appears to refer to state lawmakers and their staff.

Local school districts, not state law, make the rules on how e-learning days are used.

They asked for Red for Ed

Reformers have no problem with private and charter school students taking time off to lobby in Indianapolis...yet when public school teachers take a day to do the same they find it "just horrible."

From The Statehouse File
The reason so many students, parents and teachers are coming to the Statehouse on Nov. 19 is that the reformers gave them no place else to go.

Every move the reformers have made has funneled all the anger and frustration surrounding the state’s schools right back at them.

They might as well have sent an invitation.

Support for teachers benefits all of society

Letter to the Editor from a Fort Wayne parent and public schools advocate.

Printed in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
There are many ways to support public education. If you can't be in Indianapolis to show your support, send your teachers, volunteer to watch their children while they attend, wear red for ed, write your legislators.

You can make a difference. Start by supporting your teachers. I believe our children, our schools and our teachers deserve so much more and you should, too. Educated children are our future.


IPS board approves $31M in raises for teachers, staff

From 13WTHR-TV
The Indianapolis Public Schools Board approved a significant raise for teachers and other district employees at their meeting Tuesday.

In all, the board approved $31.2 million in spending for pay increases as they renewed two-year contracts with the Indianapolis Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The money will come from $31 million in the operating referendum approved by voters.

All teachers with performance reviews of satisfactory or better will receive the increase, which will be at least $2,600 a year. The maximum raise in the first year of the teachers' contract will be $9,400 and $4,200 in the second year.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.


Friday, November 15, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #340 – November 14, 2019

Dear Friends,

News reports say 8000 teachers and public school advocates have registered for the education rally on November 19th in the Statehouse.

That is truly an impressive number.

I have been watching the General Assembly as a public education advocate for 23 years, and 8000 would make this the largest public education rally the Statehouse has ever seen during all those years.

I offer below a reprint of my education budget analysis issued last May. I thought it would be helpful to all interested in the rally to review the details of the education budget passed last April. The following analysis was issued on May 1, 2019 in “Vic’s Statehouse Notes #337,” which provided:
  • a summary of changes in the 2019-2021 budget
  • a comparison of the new tuition support budget with the six previous budgets
  • a listing of three chunks of new money totaling $763 million over two years
  • an analysis of the 70% voucher for private schools costing $19 over two years
  • an analysis of the $31.5 million going to School Scholarships for private school tuition
Informed discussions with legislators about needed additional funding must start with detailed awareness of the current budget. So, here again is the May analysis, putting the current budget in a context of the last 14 years of education spending. I offer it again below for those who are ready to dig into the details to answer the question of why a 2-year education package of $763 million is insufficient for the needs of public schools in Indiana and diverts far too much money to private schools:

Insufficient and Diverting Money to Private Schools: An Analysis of the Current Education Budget – reprinted from Notes #337 dated May 1, 2019

Click here to read Vic's Statehouse Notes #337.


Monday, November 11, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Nov 11, 2019

Here are links to last week's 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.


‘In most professions, you steal office supplies from work to bring home. But teachers steal office supplies from home to bring to work.’

Why does Indiana have a budget surplus? One reason is because Indiana teachers supplement the budget by spending an average of $462 of their own money on supplies for their classrooms. Money which should be going to public schools is sitting in the budget surplus...or has been diverted from the public schools to charter schools or private/parochial school vouchers.

Teachers supplement their classrooms with books, paper, pencils, food for children, and even clothes.

Valerie Strauss has collected anecdotes from teachers all over the country who spend money on their own classrooms.

From the Answer Sheet
I’ve been teaching for 20 years as a 5th grade teacher in a Title 1 school. This year, I’m making a change to 7th grade Science. Completely my choice!!

My first year of teaching, I was given $200 to start the year and then multiple opportunities to turn in receipts for reimbursement. However, the following year, the $200 went away and then after that all reimbursements ended.

What I buy that’s not provided by the district:

Colored Pencils
Books (1000s!)
Teacher’s Books for “required texts”
Dry Erase markers
Snacks (for students)
Science materials

Why? Because every child NEEDS these items and because we are a Title 1 school; many cannot afford the necessities. Kids need to have equal supplies; including food. I don’t regret spending this money as I can teach my students when they have all the tools needed to succeed.

Starting 7th grade Science in a week; I know I’m going to be spending money on experiments and I MUST!! How can I not??


The Red for Ed Action Day is about Indiana's treatment of education professionals. It's about school systems hiring under-qualified staff. It's about programs being cut for lack of staff members.

It's not just about teacher salaries.

The programs being cut and the growth of class sizes has an impact on our students. Teachers' working conditions are students' learning conditions.

School systems don’t have enough money and have to beg for more from the citizens in the form of community-dividing referendums. Wealthy communities have enough money to supplement their schools, but communities with the neediest students cannot.

Meanwhile your tax dollars are being wasted on duplicating systems (charter schools and vouchers) that do not accept ALL children. Indiana cannot afford to fund three parallel school systems. Schools should not have to waste scarce resources advertising for students. Competition, which results in winners and losers, does not work in education.

Our money is going down the sinkhole of high stakes testing which does little more than identify the economic conditions in which students live.  The test scores are misused to grade teachers, students, and schools, yet still we spend millions of dollars on these instruments with money we should be using to fully fund the constitutionally mandated public schools.

Our students, teachers, and schools deserve better.

Allen County teachers, school districts to take part in Red for Ed Action Day

From WANE TV, Fort Wayne
On November 19, thousands of Indiana teachers, including some from Allen County, will throw on red clothes and travel to Indianapolis to rally for more resources for teachers and students in the state, on what they call Red for Ed Action Day.

It is not the first time educators have taken to the capitol, but it is the largest demonstration they’ve had to date.

“At this point we have about 6,600 registered and the numbers keep climbing all the time,” said Steve Brace, UniServ Director for the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA). Brace says just a couple of days ago only 2,100 teachers were signed up. At this rate, he expects the number to grow rapidly before the rally.

Over 30 schools in Indiana have decided to close that day so that teachers can attend. Brace said they have gained so much momentum this time around because teachers and administrators alike are more frustrated than ever by issues like testing standards and mandatory externships, which require teachers and administrators to spend 15 hours at an non-school related business in order to renew their teaching license. They are also calling for more funds to be pushed towards education.

Gaining Momentum: GCCS closes for Red for Ed Action Day

From the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Indiana
Higher pay.

Lower class sizes.

More school funding.

Teachers statewide are not backing down from their demands and they plan to be heard by legislators on the Red for Ed Action Day, Nov. 19, at the state capital. As more and more Greater Clark County Schools’ teachers vow to be in attendance, the district made the decision to close schools for the day.

“It is important to understand that the decision to support our teachers to attend this event, rather than being present with our students, is not an easy one,” GCCS Superintendent Mark Laughner said in a message to all parents. “We would much rather be at school teaching our students. However, inadequate funding that impacts class sizes, excessive high stakes standardized testing, teacher shortages and failed accountability models are negatively impacting our students and staff.”

Indianapolis Public Schools cancel classes for 'Red for Ed Action Day'

From RTV6-Indianapolis
Indianapolis Public Schools is canceling classes later this month for teachers attending "Red for Ed Action Day."

On Nov. 19, teachers and other staff members who plan to participate in the legislative action day won't need to request a personal day, according to a press release from the district.

Dozens of Indiana districts cancel classes for teachers to rally for higher pay

From Chalkbeat*
So many teachers asked to take Nov. 19 off to rally at the Statehouse for higher pay that nearly 30 districts across Indiana have canceled school or scheduled e-learning days.

“We’re going to support our teachers,” said Beech Grove Superintendent Paul Kaiser, who plans to join teachers at the rally that day while students work online from home. “I think it’s important for our leaders and decision-makers to understand that this is a crisis in the state of Indiana.”

The Indiana State Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers Indiana both plan to show up in force at the Statehouse on the ceremonial opening day of the legislative session. The unions want to urge lawmakers to find ways to increase teacher pay soon, although it remains to be seen whether legislators will be willing to act when the state’s budget is already set for two years.

Indianapolis Public Schools announced Wednesday that it will cancel classes on Nov. 19 to allow teachers to participate. South Bend, the state’s fifth-largest school district, and Wayne Township in Indianapolis are also among the districts that have canceled school entirely.

South Bend schools to close Nov. 19 for Red For Ed Action Day

From the South Bend Tribune
All South Bend district schools will be closed Nov. 19 to show local teachers support as part of Red For Ed Action Day.

Superintendent Todd Cummings made the announcement during Monday's school board meeting.

Local educators, parents and community members will join the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) at the Statehouse in Indianapolis to encourage state legislators to boost funding of teacher salaries and to promote education. Nov. 19 is the General Assembly’s organization day.

"We want teachers to support themselves and we want to continue to support them as they advocate for themselves," Cummings said. "We want to provide our teachers and staff with the opportunity to exercise their rights and take this day to advocate for public education and for their students."

Cummings said the district "fully supports feeding our students" and will still plan on supplying meals for those who may need them even with the schools closed.


Indiana is known for its K-12 voucher program. But pre-K vouchers are often left out of the conversation.

Vouchers in the K-12 system ARE an economic drain on our public school systems and they promote discrimination and segregation. We should not be wasting our tax dollars on them. Despite the legislative love for them, those are facts. However, vouchers for pre-school are a more complicated issue because of strongly held beliefs about who is primarily responsible for a pre-schooler’s education. The rub here is that if it’s the parents’ responsibility, then why would the state pay for any of it? On the other hand, many believe that the foundational skills that a child learns as a pre-schooler contribute to the child’s well-being which contributes to the public good. And in that case, do we need to think about making pre-school mandatory and regulating it as we would other public services?

From Chalkbeat*
School choice advocates wield heavy influence in Indiana, but not all of them have fully thrown their weight behind the state’s newest voucher program: pre-K.

Both of Indiana’s voucher programs were born from the same idea of educational choice, which allows low-income families to use public money to choose the best school for their children, regardless of whether it’s public or private.

But the preschool program, On My Way Pre-K, doesn’t enjoy the same kind of support among Indiana conservatives as its K-12 counterpart. That reality speaks to widespread attitudes toward preschool — that it’s the purview of the family, not the government.


South Bend schools get $5.5 million to recruit teachers and partner with IUSB

From the South Bend Tribune
The South Bend Community School Corp. received a $5.5 million federal grant to help the district educate, recruit and retain teachers.

Qualified students will earn their bachelor’s degrees from Indiana University South Bend and have their master’s degrees paid for in exchange for a three-year commitment to teach in South Bend schools.

The grant is for five years and addresses a need to recruit and retain elementary, middle, high school and special education teachers in South Bend.


LeBron James paid for a public school in his hometown. Now he’s building transitional housing for at-risk students there.

The I Promise team realized kids can't learn if they don't have stable housing.

From the Answer Sheet
Last year, basketball superstar LeBron James underwrote a new public school in an Akron, Ohio, school district, designed to provide academics as well as social and emotional supports to at-risk students. Now he’s adding to that investment, partnering with a hotel chain to build transitional housing for families whose children attend the I Promise school but are experiencing homelessness or struggle to have stable, safe housing.

The LeBron James Family Foundation made the announcement Monday along with Graduate Hotels, saying that the housing will be located within a few blocks of the school in a building that will be renovated and furnished.

In making the announcement, the foundation issued a release that quoted James as saying he and others involved in the I Promise school have come to realize that students need stable housing to learn.


Did Indianapolis students do better after struggling schools were restarted? A new study takes a look.

"Overall, innovation restart schools continue to post some of the lowest passing rates in the district."

From Chalkbeat*
Indianapolis Public Schools will soon have to review the performance of its first innovation schools, which launched in 2015. Next year, district officials will evaluate Phalen’s progress at School 103 in deciding whether to renew the innovation contract.

Innovation advocates have taken test score growth as a promising sign of improvement, though School 103 struggled significantly this year as passing rates tumbled across the state on the new ILEARN exam. Overall, innovation restart schools continue to post some of the lowest passing rates in the district.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.