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.


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