Saturday, January 19, 2019

Bend the Arc

Take some time to bend your life's part of the arc toward justice.

"Don't just complain...put some skin in the game!"
  • Become informed; read your local paper, watch the news.
  • Talk to your friends, neighbors, and family about issues that concern you.
  • Be a voice for those who have no voice: your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews, your students.
  • Register to vote, then vote on election day (or earlier).
  • Help a friend register to vote then make sure they get to their polling place on election day (or earlier).
  • Find out who your legislators are. Call or write them with your opinions.
  • Take an afternoon and drive to Indianapolis to talk to your legislator(s) in person.
  • Volunteer.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper about a subject that concerns you.
  • Join with others to change the world.
  • Never give up.


Monday, January 14, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Jan 14, 2019

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.


Melton responds to governor’s budget, omission of teacher pay

From Indiana Senate Democrats
On Thursday, the governor presented his budget requests to the State Budget Committee. State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) noticed the governor’s omission in asking for additional money to fund teacher salary increases.

“Governor Holcomb neglected to request necessary funding to provide teachers across Indiana with a pay raise. The entire Republican supermajority is boasting they support teacher pay, but the proof is in the pudding -- why aren’t they proving their support by adequately funding education to make teacher salary increases a reality? Without new money, there is no way to ensure that teachers will actually receive a raise.


Mind Trust gets $24 million to fund innovation and charter school expansion, new teacher recruitment

The Mind Trust has been influential in charterizing Indianapolis Public Schools. It's not surprising that Chalkbeat would highlight them given that many of Chalkbeat's financial supporters are part of the economic backbone of the privatization movement. The entire list of supporters can be found here. Some of the more obvious school privatizers among Chalkbeat's supporters are...
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • EdChoice
  • Gates Family Foundation
  • The Anschutz Foundation
  • The Joyce Foundation
  • The Walton Family Foundation

From Chalkbeat
A nonprofit that is one of the chief backers of Indianapolis Public Schools’ partnerships with charter managers announced Friday it received $24 million in new grants.

The largest grant given to The Mind Trust, $18 million from The City Fund, will help fund startup grants and training for charter and innovation school leaders. The money will also help pay for ongoing training of school staff and community engagement.


Arizona: 100 Charter Schools in Financial Trouble, at Risk of Closing, Says Report from Watchdog Group

For school stability, choose public education.

From Diane Ravitch
Arizona has celebrated its role in the charter gold rush and is often considered “the wild west” of chartering. The laws are lax, the schools are deregulated, and there is little or no oversight.

A new report by the Grand Canyon Institute says that as many as 100 charter schools in the state are at risk of closing.


New research finds link between districts that voted Trump and racist bullying post-election

From Chalkbeat
The study offers some hard evidence that the post-election months were a more fraught time in many schools — backing up the stories of individual teachers and students. But the effects were not spread evenly: In communities favoring Trump, reports of bullying were 18 percent higher than in communities that voted for Hillary Clinton, the study found. Reports of peers being teased or put down because of their race or ethnicity were 9 percent higher in those places.


Op-ed: Increase teacher salaries without increasing school funding in Indiana?

From West Lafayette Community Schools Superintendent Rocky Killion, in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
1. Quit spending over $100 million on standardized testing...
2. Quit spending over $10 million on IREAD-3 testing...
3. Quit spending over $70 million on student vouchers for students who have never attended a public school...

Spending goes both ways. If legislators want school districts to spend differently, then they too should be willing to spend differently. The aforementioned ideas are only three ideas in which they can do so. I am hopeful they will listen to their own advice.


SB 373 – Flags & God in Public Schools

From Masson's Blog
Sen. Kruse has introduced SB 373 concerning flags and god in public schools. He wants to mandate that a framed picture of a U.S. flag, a state flag, and the words “in God we Trust” be placed in every public school library and classroom. The entire display must be at least 14 x 17 inches with the motto being at least 4×15 and each flag being 5×5.

The bill also amends the current legislation permitting schools to offer a survey of religion class by specifying that the survey may include the study of the Bible as one of the permissible documents that may be studied in the survey. It does not specify any of the holy texts of other religions as eligible for study (although, under current law, the Bible and all of those other documents are already eligible for study.) The bill also states that a school corporation may mandate the teaching of creation science as one of the “various theories concerning the origin of life.”


Lawmakers: Raise teacher pay by cutting elsewhere

From School Matters
Indiana legislators want to give educators a raise, but they don’t want to pay for it. Their plan: Shame school districts into cutting spending elsewhere so they can target dollars to teachers.

Their tool for doing this is House Bill 1003, unveiled this week by House Republicans and presented Wednesday to the House Education Committee. It would “strongly encourage” districts to spend at least 85 percent of their state funds on instruction; it would subject them to public scrutiny if they don’t.

Indiana StatehouseThe assumption behind the bill is that schools have plenty of money, but they waste it on bloated administrative expenses and frills. But the data don’t support that claim.


Kruse proposes citizenship test for Indiana students

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Indiana students would have to pass a 100-question citizenship test to graduate under a bill heard by a Senate panel Wednesday.

"There is a deficiency in government and civics knowledge and it's getting worse," Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, said.

That's why he brought Senate Bill 132 to require students pass the same test that those becoming new citizens have to, starting in the 2020-2021 school year.


Students sign on to learn trade at Kelley

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Paperwork, pens and Kelley Automotive Group hats awaited five high school students Tuesday at Tom Kelley Buick GMC, one of two dealerships where they will soon regularly work.

The Fort Wayne Community Schools Career Academy students – Nolan McKuras, Enrique Trujillo, Jacob Maggart, Keagan Snaufer and Jose Cortez – successfully completed an extensive vetting process for a paid service technician internship. They will be paired with an experienced automotive service technician.


Vic’s Statehouse Notes #329 – January 7, 2019

From ICPE and Vic Smith
Quick Notes from Vic Smith...

The Governor wants to speed up a law that would allow him to replace the State Superintendent of Public Instruction with an appointee who is not required to have experience as a K-12 teacher or a K-12 administrator.

Democracy took a hit in the 2017 session. The Indiana General Assembly passed a flawed law taking away the power of voters to choose the K-12 leader and leaving a loophole to allow appointment of someone without K-12 experience.

In the historic final vote on April 18, 2017, the power of voters to elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction was ended after 166 years. The power taken away from voters was given to the Governor starting in 2025.

Now the Governor and legislative leaders want to take power away from voters sooner, starting in 2021. Identical bills to do this have been filed in the House (HB 1005) and the Senate (SB 275).

This is a bad idea...

If you are concerned about who leads our K-12 school system in this unprecedented makeover of K-12 school leadership in Indiana, contact your legislators to say you oppose HB 1005 and SB 275. Tell them two things...

For all the details, read more from Vic Smith of ICPE.


Indiana Republicans suggest schools cut costs to raise teacher pay

It's too bad the voting public doesn't understand that the legislators could easily increase funding to the public schools if they would quit throwing money away on charters and vouchers.

From Chalkbeat
Indiana’s Republican leaders want to give state teachers a raise — but they don’t necessarily want to give schools and districts more money to do it.

Schools would have to cut costs in other areas to push more dollars into teacher salaries, under part of House Republicans’ education plan for 2019. The goal for school districts would be to use 85 percent or more of their state funding for instruction-related costs, such as teacher salaries.

The proposal, which comes amid a groundswell of support for teacher pay bumps, shifts the responsibility to schools to trim budgets from areas that lawmakers say aren’t as influential on student learning, such as administrative costs, transportation, or food service.


Short list for a long session

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
House Speaker Brian Bosma set low expectations for the Indiana General Assembly when he suggested the state's financial needs already exceed its available revenue.

“It's going to be an extraordinarily difficult budget year,” Bosma said last month. “I told my team that everyone will try to sell whatever it is they want as the budget solution. ... People want to do this, they want to do that – it's the worst way to make policy.”

Granted, there's no silver budget bullet to be found in a tax increase, legalized sports gambling or any other legislation sold as remedy for the revenue shortfall. But there's much lawmakers can do to improve Hoosiers' economic prospects and well-being. Some involve investments in areas too long neglected or shortchanged; some require no money at all.


How School Reform, Including Common Core, Has Devastated Children and Their Joy of Learning to Read

From Nancy Bailey
School reform has taken a toll on children starting in kindergarten (even preschool). There’s little doubt that children are being forced to learn to read earlier than ever before. The reading gap likely reflects the developmental differences found in children when they are forced to read too soon.

Why are schools doing this? Forcing kindergarteners to read before they’re ready means that many will fail.


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #329 – January 7, 2019

Dear Friends,

The Governor wants to speed up a law that would allow him to replace the State Superintendent of Public Instruction with an appointee who is not required to have experience as a K-12 teacher or a K-12 administrator.

Democracy took a hit in the 2017 session. The Indiana General Assembly passed a flawed law taking away the power of voters to choose the K-12 leader and leaving a loophole to allow appointment of someone without K-12 experience.

In the historic final vote on April 18, 2017, the power of voters to elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction was ended after 166 years. The power taken away from voters was given to the Governor starting in 2025.

Now the Governor and legislative leaders want to take power away from voters sooner, starting in 2021. Identical bills to do this have been filed in the House (HB 1005) and the Senate (SB 275).

This is a bad idea for two reasons:
1) It ends even earlier the power given to voters in the Indiana Constitution. In our democracy, Indiana voters should retain the power to elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

2) The language of the law removing this power from voters is badly flawed. Loopholes and deceptive wording make it possible for the Governor to appoint someone with no experience in K-12 teaching or K-12 administration.
Contact your legislators to oppose moving this date up and to oppose allowing anyone without K-12 experience to lead our K-12 school system. Tell them that you oppose HB 1005 and SB 275.

The Law Removing a Constitutional Pillar in 2025 Has Flawed Language and Should Not Be Accelerated

Since 1851, voters have been able to elect a State Superintendent who had an independent mandate from the electorate as the education leader in Indiana. Now, more power has been handed to the Governor.

With this vote, democracy in Indiana was diminished.

Voters who want to influence education policy in Indiana had better focus on the race for Governor. If the privatization of public education in Indiana is to be reversed, voters will need to find a candidate for Governor who will be a champion for public education. Voters will no longer be able send a message to change the direction of education in Indiana by voting for a State Superintendent as they did in 2012.

Illusory Language in the 2017 Law Means K-12 Experience is Not Required for the Governor’s Appointee

Under the current law passed in 2017, the Governor will appoint a Secretary of Education starting in 2025. The illusory language of the law detailed below leaves the impression that K-12 experience is required but when the words are examined closely, K-12 is not mentioned. Track the details below:

The 2017 Law to End the Office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction (House Bill 1005): Resurrected from a Decisive Defeat

House Bill 1005, rising controversially from a decisive defeat to be passed and signed, took a nearly unprecedented path to reach the final vote in 2017:
  • House Bill 1005 passed the House 68-29.
  • SB 179, identical to HB 1005, failed in the Senate 23-26. Many thought defeating the bill would end the proposal for this session.
  • Senate rules say that when a bill is defeated “that exact language or substantially similar language shall be considered decisively defeated and shall not be considered again during the session.”
  • In a Senate Rules Committee meeting in which Democrats pointedly argued that the rules say “shall not be considered again during the session,” the Republican leadership claimed that they were making the bill “substantially different.” Republicans had the votes to win the argument.
  • The “substantial differences” were found in three changes:
1) The date of the first appointment by the Governor was changed from 2021 to 2025.

2) A requirement of two years residency in Indiana was reinstated.

3) Qualifications were stated which give the illusion that experience in K-12 education is required to be appointed. In fact, K-12 experience is not mandated, a conclusion confirmed in a statement on the floor of the Senate by the bill’s sponsor Senator Buck while speaking against Senator Breaux’s proposed amendment which would have mandated K-12 experience: “While we are trying to consider the availability to the Governor of somebody that would be the administrator of our department of ed, I hope we realize that someone with the depth of experience of executive leadership and in higher ed such as former Governor Mitch Daniels would be excluded from that category . I think it gives the Governor a great deal of latitude in looking to somebody that has executive experience in the field of education.” (Senator Buck during second reading amendments, March 30, 2017)
  • Read carefully the new slippery language on qualifications:
“(2) has demonstrated personal and professional leadership success, preferably in the administration of public education;”
“(3) possesses an earned advanced degree , preferably in education or educational administration, awarded from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university; and”
“(4) either:
(A) at the time of taking office is licensed or otherwise employed as a teacher, principal, or superintendent;
(B) has held a license as a teacher, superintendent, or principal, or any combination of these licenses, for at least five (5) years at any time before taking office; or
(C) has a total of at least five (5) years of work experience as any of the following, or any combination of the following, before taking office:
(i) Teacher.
(ii) Superintendent.
(iii) Principal.
(iv) Executive in the field of education.
  • The word “preferably” has no meaning under the law. It can obviously be ignored. It is surprising that such a word is used in the bill. Using “preferably” means that it is not necessary to appoint a public education administrator to be State Superintendent. Similarly it is not necessary to appoint someone with a degree in education or educational administration.
  • This “preferably” language and the phrase “Executive in the field of education” open the door to appointing a business leader with executive experience in an education field such as testing or technology. Superintendents in Indiana are no longer required to have a superintendent’s license.
  • Another concern is whether it was written for a higher education official to be appointed. No reference to K-12 experience or degrees is included. It is not clear that those who wrote this legislation wanted a leader with K-12 experience.
  • After the Senate Rules Committee added these amendments, the full Senate passed the historic bill 28-20.
  • At this point, Speaker Bosma as bill sponsor had a choice. He could take the bill to a conference committee to restore the House’s bill language or he could ask the House to concur with the Senate language. After several days, he decided to opt for a concurrence vote in the House which passed 66-31 on April 18th.

Bi-Partisan Opposition and Partisan Support

Despite discussion of past Democratic leaders wanting this change, the final votes in both the House (66-31)and the Senate (28-20) on HB 1005 showed bi-partisan opposition and, except for one vote, partisan support.
  • In the House, the yes votes were cast by 65 Republicans and one Democrat, Representative Goodin.
  • In the House, the no votes were cast by 28 Democrats and 3 Republicans, Representatives Judy, Nisly and Pressel.
  • In the Senate, all 28 yes votes were cast by Republicans.
  • In the Senate, the no votes were cast by all 9 Democrats and 11 Republicans, Senators Becker, Bohacek, Crane, Glick, Grooms, Head, Kenley, Koch, Kruse, Leising and Tomes.

Contact Your Legislators

If you are concerned about who leads our K-12 school system in this unprecedented makeover of K-12 school leadership in Indiana, contact your legislators to say you oppose HB 1005 and SB 275. Tell them two things:
  • The case is clear: Appointing Indiana’s K-12 leader has undermined democracy and the damage should not be accelerated. The Governor and the Republican leadership have suppressed future disagreement between the Governor and the State Superintendent by ending the independent mandate from voters held by the State Superintendent since 1851. Since Governors are elected on many issues and education is a minor issue in gubernatorial campaigns, voters have lost their direct power to correct the course of education when they are motivated to do so, as they were in the 2012 election. Removing public dissent on education in this manner aligns with Milton Friedman’s plan to gradually deconstruct public education and fund a marketplace of private schools with public tax dollars. This puts us on a slippery slope to a weaker and weaker democracy where the power of the ballot box is diminished.
  • The language of the law must be changed to require K-12 experience before anyone is appointed to lead Indiana’s K-12 school system. The loophole language “Executive in the field of education” allowing leaders with only higher education experience or business experience related to education must be replaced with clear language requiring experience in K-12 teaching or K-12 administration.
Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,
Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support the ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand represented ICPE extremely well during the 2018 session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana. In April, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.


Monday, January 7, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Jan 7, 2019

We haven't posted In Case You Missed It since December 17 so there are quite a few articles listed below. Articles appear as they appeared in social media; The newest are at the top. Thank you for your interest and support of public education.

Here are links to the articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media over the last few weeks. 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.


South Adams Middle School wins state STEM award with winter roads proposal

An Adams County school is getting recognition for proposing a way to solve an issue many people face.

Winter roads can get slick with freezing rain, ice and snow. That is why South Adams Middle School is proposing a GPS tracking device to find safe routes to travel by connecting to GPS trackers on vehicles like snowplows.

That was the school’s proposal in Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Contest. This contest encourages teachers and students to solve issues in their community with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills.


IHDC Leader GiaQuinta outlines agenda that includes teacher pay hikes, hate crimes law, and voting reform

From the Indiana House Democratic Caucus
In his first major speech as Leader of an Indiana House Democratic Caucus that he called the most diverse in state history, State Rep. Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) called today for lawmakers to take immediate action on a variety of issues to improve the quality of life for Hoosiers.

That action should include passage of legislation to improve teacher pay, expand pre-K throughout the state, enact a hate crimes law, protect the health care of people with pre-existing medical conditions, make it easier for Hoosiers to vote, and provide a nonpartisan drawing of legislative and congressional districts.


A test of leadership: Lawmakers have all the evidence they need to do right by public-school educators

From FWCS Board President Julie Hollingsworth in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Indiana finds itself burdened by two issues, a teacher shortage and low teacher pay.

Each feeds the other. How did we get here, and what can be done?

In 2011, the Republican-majority General Assembly with Mitch Daniels as governor passed a sweeping set of laws affecting K-12 education. New laws created the private school voucher program and expanded charter school opportunities. The rhetoric and talking points used to sell these programs echoed that being used across the country; much of it was focused on bad schools and bad teachers.


Quality crackdown: Virtual charters' dismal record scrutinized anew

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
If the state's newly released high school graduation rate report serves just one purpose, it should be as impetus for a crackdown on virtual charter schools, including one which more than doubled in size after graduating only 22 of its 1,009 seniors last spring.

Senate Bill 183 would serve as a check on Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, which posted a graduation rate of 2.18 percent, compared with a state average of 88.1 percent...


DeVos Department of Ed Cancels Obama-Era Guidance Aimed at Reducing Racial Disparities in School Discipline

From Jan Resseger
On Friday, December 21, as everybody took off for the holidays, the Education and Justice Departments rescinded Obama-era school discipline guidance designed to address vast racial disparities in school discipline practices. Particularly important was the purpose of the guidance: reducing overuse of suspension and expulsion, encouraging schools to handle discipline policies in ways that keep students in school, and developing restorative discipline programs to create a safe school climate. Officials in the Trump administration, including Betsy DeVos and her Federal Commission on School Safety, continue to endorse punitive discipline.


Indiana lawmaker seeks school start change, opioid labeling

Republican state Sen. Jean Leising filed a bill that would bar public K-12 schools from starting the school year before the last Monday in August, starting with the 2020 school year.


Los Angeles Hires Hundreds of Scabs to Replace Thousands of Teachers Who Are Likely to Strike

From Diane Ravitch
Los Angeles is about to try to prove that class size doesn’t matter. The district, on orders from investment banker Austin Beutner, has hired about 400 substitutes to fill in for thousands of teachers who are preparing to strike on January 10. Let’s see: 400 teachers for 600,000 students. Those are very large classes!


How Are the Walton Billionaires Like Putin and the Russians?

From Diane Ravitch
...the Waltons are not merely funding advocates and research and media. They are actively intervening and interfering into the democratic process (as Putin did in 2016 in our presidential election), sinking the hopes of home-grown candidates who can’t match their funding. Putin did it by stealth and social media, the Waltons do their dirty work in the open, using the sheer force of money.


AZ: Proposed Teacher Gag Law Part of National Push

We need to stay informed about where legislation comes from and how the same legislation spreads across the nation. Spoiler alert: It's ALEC.

From Curmudgucation
When Arizona teachers walked out on strike, it led to a legislative move to increase education funding by $400 million. But it also led to an expectation that some legislators would seek some vengeance on the uppity educators.

Enter Rep. Mark Finchem (R) with House Bill 2002, a proposal to stifle teachers when it comes to discussing any kind of politics in the classroom called the "Teacher Code of Ethics."


How to beat reform ‘addiction’

From School Matters
John Merrow spent 41 years reporting on education for NPR and PBS “Newshour,” long enough to develop a clear-eyed view of what’s right and wrong with America’s schools. He argues that our obsession with “reform” is an addiction that’s harming students and teachers.


Arizona’s 2019 Teacher of the Year was suspended for a day and fined $225. You won’t believe why.

From The Answer Sheet
The Phoenix Union High School District disciplined Neal because he had posted in his classroom a sign supporting #InvestInEd, which was an initiative for an education tax to raise new money for public schools that was initially placed on November’s ballot but removed by the state Supreme Court before the election. Teachers are not supposed to advocate for any political cause, though Neal said that wasn’t his intent, the Arizona Republic reported.

...It’s worth remembering that #InvestInEd was an initiative to raise more money for public schools...


Kekionga radio club finding success

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
When Fort Wayne Community Schools educator and amateur radio operator Jon Luckey first set out to share his longtime hobby with students, he failed miserably, perhaps because he was a first-year teacher.

Now in his 21st year, he has found success with the Kekionga Middle School Amateur Radio Club, an extracurricular activity with a core group of six students, mostly sixth-graders.


When students can't afford to eat

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Even with the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, which provide free and reduced-price meals to eligible students, children can still accrue debt over unpaid food. Those ineligible for free meals sometimes don't have money in their account or on hand.


New Orleans: The Last Public School Closes, Despite Objections of Parents and Students and Alumni

From Diane Ravitch
The Orleans Parish School Board closed the last public school in New Orleans, in a meeting room filled with protesting parents, students and alumni of McDonough 35. New Orleans is now the first city in the United States without a public school. The board disregarded the protesters.


Los Angeles: Charter School Founder Pleads Guilty to Felony Embezzlement Charge

From Diane Ravitch
The founder of a Los Angeles charter chain pleaded guilty to a felony count of misappropriating funds intended for the students at the schools.


D.C.: Ferebee Nomination as Chancellor Questioned Because of Inaction in Sexual Abuse Case in Indianapolis

From Diane Ravitch
...Ferebee is under renewed scrutiny because of his inaction in a sexual abuse case of major proportions in February 2016. Some of Ferebee’s underlings were fired for the mishandling of the case, but Ferebee won a bonus from the school board, which was thrilled by his willingness to privatize large parts of the school district.


New Optional Retirement Plan Could Reduce Benefits

The new retirement option from the Indiana State Teachers’ Retirement Fund (TRF) received approval from the Internal Revenue Service. The plan allows new hires to select a DC-only plan with a shorter vesting period of five years.

The plan, while optional and voluntary for each new hire, reduces benefits for retirees.


Indianapolis Public Schools teachers win big raises — and more pay bumps could be on the way

From Chalkbeat
The new contract includes raises ranging from 3 to 9 percent, with most eligible teachers’ salaries going up by at least $2,586 per year. The contract covers 2018-19, and teachers will get retroactive pay increases going back to July.


High-stakes testing has emotional consequences, too

From lohud (USA Network)
The result? A generation of young children who are stressed beyond capacity. Ask a school nurse about students reporting anxiety, depression, cutting themselves, eating disorders, thoughts of suicide, attempts of suicide. Ask about the numbers of hospitalizations for mental health issues. The answer will stun you. The American Academy of Pediatrics shared the shocking news that children’s admissions to hospitals for suicidal thoughts or for “serious self harm” more than doubled from 2008 to 2015 — with more than 10 percent of patients between 5 and 11 years old.


Data raise questions about school staffing – but don’t answer them

From School Matters
Indiana ranks near the bottom of the states for the percentage of school employees who are teachers and near the top for the percentage who provide “support services,” according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.


IPS poised to approve over $30,000 in additional pay for Washington-bound superintendent Lewis Ferebee

A bonus for this man is a grievous waste of Indy’s tax dollars. Tying it to an increase in teacher pay is beyond the pale.

From Chalkbeat
Weeks before he leaves for Washington, D.C., Superintendent Lewis Ferebee is expected to get a retroactive raise and $26,999 in performance pay from Indianapolis Public Schools.

That will bring his total annual compensation to nearly $300,000...


Holcomb now says he’s ‘optimistic’ that Indiana can send more money to teachers in 2019

Is this optimism or just a meaningless promise in response to bad publicity?

From Chalkbeat
Gov. Eric Holcomb is speeding up what he introduced as a slow and “methodical” approach to raising Indiana’s teacher salaries over the next several years, saying action could take place in 2019.


Weak laws allow discrimination in voucher, charter schools

From School Matters
School voucher programs and charter schools practice discrimination in enrollment and hiring because they can, according to a recent policy brief from the National Education Policy Center. Federal and state laws permit discrimination in private schools that receive public funding. And charter schools are held to looser standards than traditional public schools when it comes to selecting students.


Local charter school must close at year's end

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy lost its charter, and must close at the end of the school year.


Sunday, January 6, 2019

NEIFPE 2018 Year in Review

NEIFPE's Year in Review, 2018.

Below are some image highlights from the 2018 NEIFPE Year in Review.

Click here or on any image for the full Year in Review as a pdf file.

In January members of education and religious communities gathered in January to hear Rev. Charlie Johnson discuss the success of Pastors for Texas Children. NEIFPE teamed up with Rev. Johnson to encourage local religious groups to join together to support public education.

Rev. Charlie Johnson of Pastors for Texas Children

Throughout the year NEIFPE members joined with others to attend and celebrate community events.

Below NEIFPE members attended the service at Plymouth Congregational Church where Karen Francisco, pictured above in pink, was honored with the Amistad Peace and Justice Award.

Donna Roof, Phyllis Bush, Kathy Candioto, Anne Duff, Karen Francisco, and Lucy Hess at Plymouth Congregational Church.

NEIFPE members attended The Power of Her Story: Brunch in Celebration of Women's Voices with Keynote Speaker, Glenda Ritz, the former Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Terry Springer and Eileen Doherty at the Power of Her Story brunch in Fort Wayne.

We sponsored events like a viewing of the movie, Backpack Full of Cash, which was followed by a panel discussion.

Our members made presentations to local PTAs as well as classes of education students at PFW.

Meg Bloom, Susie Berry, and Stu Bloom spoke to the Haley Elementary PTA.

We participated in community actions in defense of children and in support of sensible gun legislation.

In May NEIFPE hosted and encouraged others to host "Meet-Up/Greet-UpTweet-Up" events to focus the community on legislation detrimental to public schools.

Karol Dehr and Susie Berry at a Meet-up/Greet-up/Tweet-up gathering.

We gathered in August with friends from around the state (and Ohio) to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee birthday of our co-founder, Phyllis Bush.

Co-founder Phyllis Bush, with fans.

During the campaign for the 2018 general election, our members attended, and participated in a panel discussion on education issues for U.S. Representative Candidate, Courtney Tritch.

Meg Bloom sits on the Tritch Education Panel.

The Network for Public Education's 2018 annual National Conference was held in Indianapolis. Quite a few NEIFPE members attended...

NEIFPE members and friends at the NPE National Conference, 2018.

...listened to speakers and presentations...
NPE Founder Diane Ravitch speaks in Indianapolis, October, 2018.

...and joined NPE in honoring NEIFPE co-founder Phyllis Bush. NPE established a new award for community activism and named it after Phyllis, who is also a Board Member for NPE. The first annual award went to SOS Arizona.

NPE names award for Phyllis Bush.

NEIFPE ended the year with a wedding celebration. On December 11, NEIFPE co-founders Phyllis Bush and Donna Roof were married in Fort Wayne. With short notice, a court room was filled with friends and former students to celebrate this joyous occasion.