Sunday, January 27, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Jan 28, 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.

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Local schools compete in regional Future City competition

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The assignment was challenging. Your city has been hit with a natural disaster and you, middle school students, have been chosen to design a resilient power grid that will withstand the devastation.

Twelve Hoosier middle school teams with that intent competed Saturday, hoping to win the 2019 Indiana Future City Regional Competition at Purdue Fort Wayne.


New resource for teachers in works for SACS

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The proposed job description details more than a dozen responsibilities. Essentially, Harshman said, the coordinator/coach will work with teachers to help create learning environments conducive to all students. Students who have experienced trauma or adversity should especially benefit.

This can include students who are homeless, hungry or abused, Harshman said.

“Those children show up at school,” she said, “and their brains are not primed for learning.”

Strategies to help students will be informed by educational neuroscience research, Harshman said. The hired candidate must complete the Butler University educational neuroscience certificate program, at no cost to the candidate.

About a year long, the Butler program is designed for educators, social workers and counselors who work with children and adolescents experiencing adversity and trauma, according to its website.

It notes participants become acquainted with the “literature of educational neuroscience, trauma and the brain, and brain development as it relates to behaviors, relationships, and academic acquisition.”


Speaker Bosma, Qualifications Matter!

From Live Long And Prosper
The Speaker is wrong.

The Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction ought to be an education professional for the same reason that the Superintendent of the Indiana State Police ought to be, and is, a law enforcement officer...

...for the same reason that Indiana's Attorney General ought to be, and is, an attorney...

...for the same reason that the Commissioner of Indiana's State Department of Health ought to be, and is, a medical professional.

Education is a specialized a field. The State Department of Education is, and in the future ought to be, run by an education professional.


Oklahoma bill would revoke teachers' certification if they walk out and protest

From CNN
As the nationwide wave of teacher strikes keeps gaining momentum, an Oklahoma bill would make it illegal for teachers to walk out and protest.

But House Bill 2214 doesn't stop there -- it would also permanently revoke certifications of teachers who break the rule, preventing them from ever teaching in the state again.
The bill's author, state Rep. Todd Russ, said the main point is to make sure kids don't suffer a disruption in their education.

Political payback for the statewide teacher walkout? Slew of newly filed bills aim to punish, limit future protests

Oklahoma legislators seek to punish teachers for daring to strike for a livable salary.

From the Tulsa World
Oklahoma lawmakers have filed a host of bills that seek to crack down on the methods educators employed to stage a statewide walkout and Capitol protest last spring.

Proposed measures range from criminal penalties for disrupting the Legislature to the mandatory loss of pay and teacher certification for those who strike or shut down schools to resolve differences with state leaders.

At its peak, the two-week teacher walkout in April had more than 500,000 students out of school — about two-thirds of the state’s student population.


LAUSD teachers’ strike ends. Teachers to return to classrooms Wednesday

Teacher salaries weren't the most important thing behind the strike in Los Angeles. The teachers were offered a 6% raise before the strike...and after the strike they settled for a 6% raise. The learning conditions for the students was uppermost in teachers' minds, not dollars in their pockets as the media and public education foes would like you to believe.

From the Los Angeles Times
The tentative deal includes what amounts to a 6% raise for teachers — with a 3% raise for the last school year and a 3% raise for this school year.

But teachers also lost about 3% of their salary by being on strike for six days, according to the school district. Other employees got the same 6% raise without having to makes such a sacrifice. The district had offered 6% to teachers before they went on strike.

Striking teachers were sincere, though, when they said the walkout was always about more than salary. The broader concerns they voiced — about overcrowded classrooms and schools without nurses on hand to help when a student got hurt or fell ill — had a lot to do with why the public responded so warmly and cheered them on, bringing food to the lines and even bringing their children to march alongside the strikers.


Legislators dealing with virtual charter schools

From School Matters
It should be a no-brainer for Indiana lawmakers to rein in abuses by low-performing virtual charter schools. But there are few sure things in the General Assembly.

As Chalkbeat Indiana reported, virtual charter schools have spent heavily in recent years to lobby legislators. They have also contributed generously to political campaigns. They will be heard.

Regulation is needed because virtual charter schools, which provide all or most of their instruction online, have some of the worst academic performance in the state. Most have consistently received Fs in the state’s school grading system, and their test scores and graduation rates tend to be low.


In high school, a jump on college

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
About 62 percent of Indiana high school students – or nearly 45,000 – earned college credit through dual-credit and AP courses in 2016 compared with 47 percent in 2012, the agency reported.

“Our most recent data indicate that high school students are not only earning more early college credit than ever, but the credit they earn in high school is actually leading to higher success rates and cost savings for students and the state,” Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said in a statement.

Dual-credit courses are classes that let students earn high school and college credits simultaneously. They can be taught at high schools or colleges.


You Go, Dan Forestal!

From Sheila Kennedy
With the Indiana General Assembly back in session, one state lawmaker says he still intends to introduce legislation that would block public dollars from going to private schools that engage in discriminatory hiring practices.
The proposal by Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, comes in the wake of discrimination charges lobbed at Roncalli High School, a Catholic school overseen by the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Forestal said he wants to see strings put on the state’s voucher program, which uses public dollars to offset to cost of tuition at Roncalli and other participating K-12 private schools.

I’ve written before about Indiana’s voucher program, which is by far the largest in the country, and the damage it is inflicting. The funds supporting the program would otherwise go to Indiana’s chronically under-funded public schools; research confirms that the private schools participating in the voucher program have failed to improve the academic performance of the children attending them...


Lawmakers' cheap stunt costly blow to schools

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
...Terry Spradlin, executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association, reminded House Education Committee members Jan. 9 that schools have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue to property tax caps in the past few years.

“We're lagging behind on tuition support since 2010 by about four percentage points. Had you kept up with inflation ... we would be about $573 million ahead of where we are right now,” Spradlin told Rep. Jim Lucas when the Seymour Republican asked whether the school board group wanted more money or more flexibility. “Indiana has fallen 10 slots behind (other states) on per-pupil expenditures since 2006. We now rank 34th. So you're doing a pretty good job of dedicating 52 percent of our state resources to K-12, but the reality is because we're not using local levies any longer, we're slipping behind.”

HB 1003 shifts blame for the shortfall in education funding – and, subsequently, to lagging teacher pay – to local school officials, who have had no control over general fund revenue since the state took over that responsibility in a 2008 swap for property tax cuts.

*This post has been updated to include one additional article listed at the top


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