Sunday, February 17, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Feb 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.

"LOSER TEACHERS PUSH SOCIALISM" -- JUNIOR

Why Donald Trump Jr.’s ‘loser teachers’ comment was ‘a chilling moment’ for educators around the world

This article is behind a paywall. You can find it reprinted HERE.

From The Answer Sheet
You may recall that President Trump held a border wall rally in El Paso on Monday and that his eldest child, Donald Trump Jr., made a speech that roused the crowd.

The president’s son drew cheers when he urged young conservatives to “bring it to your schools” (though he didn’t say exactly what “it” was) because “you don’t have to be indoctrinated by these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth.”

The comment drew response on social media from teachers and others who don’t see educators in the same way as he does, with the hashtag #loserteachers...

In this post, three teachers explain why Trump Jr.'s comment was more than simply mean.

Jelmer Evers of the Netherlands, Michael Soskil of the United States and Armand Doucet of Canada were featured authors in the 2018 book “Teaching in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Standing at the Precipice.”


HOOSIER TEACHERS RANK 32 IN SALARY AND BEHIND NEIGHBORS

Are Hoosier teachers underpaid?

From School Matters
A report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis suggests they are underpaid. After adjusting for cost of living, Indiana teacher salaries rank 32nd among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, it says.

The average “real” salary for a Hoosier teacher in 2017 was $56,347 after adjusting for the state’s low cost of living. Adjusted average salaries ranged from $75,000 in Alaska to $46,230 in Oklahoma.

Significantly, Indiana’s adjusted average salary was well below that for teachers in surrounding states.

SHOULD INDIANA TEACHERS STAND UP FOR THEMSELVES?

As pay debate plods on, Indiana teachers unions want more. Will they walk out?

Would you support teachers in Indiana standing up for themselves and for their profession?

From Chalkbeat
The idea of setting aside significant sums for teacher pay often gets met with “glazed-over reactions,” Sloan said, “or they smile and nod their heads. But I don’t hear anyone saying we’re going to make this happen.”

Some teachers accuse lawmakers of damaging the teaching profession through past laws that weakened unions’ bargaining powers, handed down testing mandates, and hinged teacher evaluations on student test scores. Lawmakers, they point out, also determine education spending levels, deciding to fund public schools mostly through the state, capping local property taxes, and sending public education dollars to charter schools and private school vouchers.


THE ARTS PROVIDE ACADEMIC BENEFITS

Extra arts education boosts students’ writing scores — and their compassion, big new study finds

What a shame that the legislators we’ve voted for have stolen the funds that would provide more arts in our public schools and given those dollars to private groups instead.

From Chalkbeat
When you’re the big fish, it’s not OK to pick on the little fish just because you can.

That’s an important lesson for everyone. But some Houston first-graders got a particularly vivid demonstration in the form of a musical puppet show, which featured fish puppets and an underlying message about why it’s wrong to bully others.

The show left an impression on the students at Codwell Elementary, according to their teacher Shelea Bennett. “You felt like you were in that story,” she said. “By the end of the story they were able to answer why [bullying] wasn’t good, and why you shouldn’t act this way.”

The puppeteer’s show was part of an effort to expand arts education in Houston elementary and middle schools. Now, a new study shows that the initiative helped students in a few ways: boosting students’ compassion for their classmates, lowering discipline rates, and improving students’ scores on writing tests.

VOUCHER SCHOOLS DON'T HAVE TO FOLLOW PUBLIC SCHOOL RULES

State lawmakers nix proposal for private schools to follow bullying rules

From RTV6-Indianapolis
State lawmakers on Monday nixed a proposal that would have required private schools, or any school that accepts state funding, to have the same types of rules against bullying as public schools.

Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, filed an amendment to House Bill 1640 that would require nonpublic schools to prohibit bullying and implement a protocol for investigating bullying including a method for anonymous reporting of bullying incidents, timetables for informing the parents and other parties like law enforcement, and support services for the bully and the victim.

The amendment would have allowed the Indiana Department of Education to review the bullying policies at any school that accepts state funding or financial assistance.


GARY STUDENTS SUFFER FOR LACK OF SCHOOL MAINTENANCE

Gary Roosevelt students have stayed home for weeks due to the school's failing boiler system

Would this ever happen in a wealthy community?

From the Chicago Tribune
A failing boiler system that left the school without heat for more than two weeks will keep the Gary Roosevelt College and Career Academy closed indefinitely while officials scramble to assess the cost of the repairs and who will pay for them. Students haven’t been in school since Jan. 25.

Meanwhile, Roosevelt students in grades 7-12 will begin classes Thursday at the Gary Area Career Center. In September, a school official said Roosevelt’s enrollment was 568.

REP JIM LUCAS WANTS HOOSIER TEACHERS TO LEARN HOW TO SHOOT

Indiana lawmakers want to help teachers learn how to shoot guns

From WANE.com
A state lawmaker has a controversial approach to keeping kids safe at school.

He wants teachers to learn how to use a gun.

The state representative from Seymour said his bill would not require teachers to take handgun training but would allow the school district to tap into state money to pay for that training.

A year ago this week, a gunman killed 17 students and staff members at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

In May, a teenager shot a student and teacher inside Noblesville West Middle School.

"This gives the teachers, the staff, the school employee the ability to protect themselves in the horrible event of a school shooting," said Republican state Rep. Jim Lucas.

Bill to provide firearms training for Indiana teachers passes in committee

From CBS4-Indianapolis
Should Indiana teachers carry guns in the classroom?

It’s a question that comes with strong opinions on both sides. Now Indiana is one step closer to giving teachers that option.

“When evil comes calling at the classroom door it has to be met head on with people who are armed and trained,” said high school teacher Aron Bright.


INCLUSION WORKS

Study: Inclusion benefits special-needs students

From School Matters
A new study from researchers at Indiana University provides strong evidence that students with special needs do better academically when they are placed in general-education classrooms, not separated in self-contained special education classes.

CALIFORNIA'S CHARTERS

What’s wrong with charter schools? The picture in California*

From Teaching Malinche
– Guest post created by a longtime Northern California parent volunteer education advocate

• Charter schools take resources away from the public schools, harming public schools and their students. All charter schools do this – whether they’re opportunistic and for-profit or presenting themselves as public, progressive and enlightened.

• Charter schools are free to pick and choose and exclude or kick out any student they want. They’re not supposed to, but in real life there’s no enforcement. Many impose demanding application processes, or use mandatory “intake counseling,” or require work hours or financial donations from families – so that only the children of motivated, supportive, compliant families get in. Charter schools publicly deny this, but within many charter schools, the selectivity is well known and viewed as a benefit. Admittedly, families in those schools like that feature – with the more challenging students kept out of the charter – but it’s not fair or honest, and it harms public schools and their students.


REFORM: ANOTHER NAME FOR "TEACHER HATRED"

Angie Sullivan: “Reform” in Nevada is Teacher-Hatred

From Diane Ravitch
I think the Nevada State School Board is moving in the wrong direction and causing a lot of issues in CCSD.

https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/state-board-of-education-unveils-search-timeline-for-new-superintendent

My priority would NOT be reform.

Reform is code for: HATE THE TEACHER.

It does not work and it makes us mad.

Reform is “teacher hate” bought by millionaire and billionaire eduphilantrophists. It is also known as union busting. We do not need another well-funded group that hates the people in the classroom. You have abused us for a couple of decades and nearly ruined your school system. Enough.

CORY BOOKER HAS HELPED PRIVATIZE SCHOOLS

Eric Blanc: Cory Booker Hates Public Schools

From Diane Ravitch
For close to two decades, Cory Booker has been at the forefront of a nationwide push to dismantle public education.

According to Booker, the education system is the main cause of our society’s fundamental problems, rather than, say, inequality and unchecked corporate power. As he explained in a 2011 speech, “disparities in income in America are not because of some ‘greedy capitalist’ — no! It’s because of a failing education system.”

Public schools, Booker continued, are also responsible for mass incarceration and racial injustice. To combat such evils, Booker has openly praised Republican leader Betsy DeVos’s organization American Federation for Children for fighting to win the final battle of the civil rights’ movement.


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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #332 – February 12, 2019

Dear Friends,

Update on House Bill 1641

Your opposition to egregious parts of HB 1641 has helped immensely. Amendment 18 adopted yesterday, Feb. 11, by the House Education Committee drops all language requiring public school boards to share general referendum funding with charter schools in the district. Your objections were heard!

In addition, language to sell a vacant building for 50% market value has been removed. The amendment now says that if a charter school or a neighboring school corporation does not want the building, “the school corporation must sell a vacant school building to a nonpublic school, a postsecondary educational institution, or a nonprofit organization that sends a letter of intent to the school corporation to purchase the vacant or unused school building for an amount not more than the fair market value.”

Thanks for contacting legislators on these two issues!

Stop Voucher Expansion: Oppose Senate Bill 55 Creating Partial Vouchers

We need your help today and tomorrow! Public education advocates should contact Senators in opposition to Senate Bill 55, which expands the voucher program by creating a second-semester partial voucher. We do not need a voucher expansion!

SB 55 will be amended and then voted on in the Senate Education Committee meeting tomorrow, Wednesday afternoon Feb. 13th starting at 1:30pm. Please contact the Senators on the committee listed below to urge them to abandon this proposal.

SB 55 would resurrect House Bill 1005 passed in a partisan vote in a controversial battle in the short session of 2016. The provisions of the law were rescinded when the second count date for all schools was dropped. The Indiana Coalition for Public Education strongly opposed the concept of partial vouchers in 2016, and the reasons for opposing this major voucher expansion have not changed:
  • The bill establishes a second window of applications, September 2 to January 15. IDOE requested in testimony that this window be amended to say November 1 to January 15. Thus the bill creates for the first time a partial-year voucher, but this partial voucher is not defined in the bill. Is the amount exactly half? Does the spring semester student wait until spring semester to enroll? Or can the student transfer to a voucher school at any time, even before spring semester? Is the voucher prorated by day? The bill does not define the partial-year voucher to answer these basic questions.
  • This bill has a significant fiscal cost at a time when budget makers are searching for ways to provide more money for teacher pay. LSA has said that “in FY 2018, 1378 students exited the choice scholarship program within the school year.” Under current law, the remainder of the choice scholarship reverts to the state coffers, and in FY 2018 according to LSA, this reversion was “just under $500,000 from choice schools due to students leaving before the end of the school year.” SB 55 would spend that money to let the student transfer to another voucher school, something the original 2011 voucher bill specifically prevented, sending the message at the time that students could not jump around to different schools on the taxpayer dime. Removing this provision is moving backward on accountability to the taxpayer. If families make a bad choice, the result would be extra costs falling on the taxpayers.
  • In addition to the $.5 million fiscal costs for students to transfer, this bill sets up a second semester voucher for students who have not had a voucher before. That will mean increased fiscal costs. The fiscal costs projected by LSA for the 2016 bill were $2.1 million for a second semester voucher program.
  • Is SB 55 the first program that gives taxpayer money for expelled students during the school year for which they are expelled? Expulsions are for serious problems, including bringing guns or drugs to school or threatening the school. A state law says that expelled students as part of their penalty cannot be enrolled in another public school for the balance of the school year in which they were expelled. SB 55 bill does not rule out helping expelled students go to a private school with a tax payer voucher. Is this undermining the meaning of expulsion? Will students expelled for the most serious offenses including gun violations or serious threats to the school be allowed to simply transfer to a private school with a voucher in the second semester? Are there major expulsion offenses for which taxpayer money should not be used when students are expelled for the most serious reasons?
  • The current window for private school voucher applications is March 1 to September 1. SB 55 would establish a new enrollment window from extending to January 15. This extension would mean that the marketing and recruitment competition between private schools and public schools would go on for 10.5 months instead of the current 6 months.
  • Private schools have always had to have a marketing program to gain enrollment, but marketing and recruiting is new to public schools since Indiana was transformed into a school choice marketplace in 2011. Now just like private schools, if public schools don’t recruit students, they won’t survive. A superb public school with superb teachers must still be marketed well to parents or it may falter in the competition for enrollment. SB 55 proposes to extend the intense competition by four and a half months. Meanwhile, House Bill 1003 passed yesterday in the House sets up incentives to keep public schools from spending money on marketing, a move by the General Assembly that makes no sense given that they set up the competitive school marketplace in 2011.
  • Legislators should say no to ever-increasing voucher expansion. The teacher shortage and the teacher pay crisis deserve the full attention of our General Assembly and our school personnel, and not another battle over voucher expansion.
  • We don’t need a sweeping expansion of spring semester vouchers that will extend the advertising wars all year long that are currently confined to the summer recruiting period.

Send Messages Today (Feb. 12) or Early Tomorrow (Feb 13) Before the Committee Vote!

Just let Senators know that you oppose SB 55 and that you oppose any expansion of private school vouchers. The length of your message is not as important as the number of messages to Senators.

Please send your messages to Senators on the Senate Education Committee right away:

Republicans: Senators Raatz (chair), Buchanan, Crane, Freeman (bill sponsor), Kruse, Leising, Rogers, and Spartz

Democrats: Senators Melton, Mrvan, Stoops

You can cut and paste this list of Senate Education Committee members into the "to" field of your email:

S27@iga.in.gov; S7@iga.in.gov; S24@iga.in.gov; S32@iga.in.gov; S14@iga.in.gov; S42@iga.in.gov; S11@iga.in.gov; S20@iga.in.gov; S3@iga.in.gov; S1@iga.in.gov; S40@iga.in.gov


Good luck in your efforts! 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 www.icpe2011.com 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.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Feb 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.

ISTA RED FOR ED RALLY

ISTA to Lead A Statewide Rally March 9

From ISTA
ISTA President Teresa Meredith is calling on educators, parents and public-school advocates to rally at the Indiana Statehouse next month to advocate for increased teacher pay and funding for our public schools.

“Now is the time we demand more from our lawmakers,” said Meredith. “Now is the time for advocates of public schools to stand up. We are calling on our members and public education supporters to join together in Indianapolis for a Red for Ed Rally.”

The rally will be held at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis on Saturday, March 9 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.


MCCORMICK CONTINUES TO SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION

State superintendent on her exit from politics: ‘It’s follow the money on steroids’

It's good that she is speaking out on what she discovered. Here's hoping that her voice is heard.

From CBS4-Indy
"I came into it almost naive thinking we're going to look at data, we're going to listen to practitioners, we're going to listen to partners," [McCormick] said. "And what I quickly learned was follow the money."
Indiana schools superintendent rallies NWI educators to organize, contact legislators

From NWI.com
Indiana Superintendent of Schools Jennifer McCormick called upon Northwest Indiana educators to organize and contact their elected officials in a nearly two-hour event Wednesday night at Merrillville High School.

"There is a way you can use your voice," McCormick said. "And I even think we're underusing it. There's power in numbers."


NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR TESTS AND GRADUATION

A new plan could drop test scores and graduation rates from Indiana high school grades

This might sound good on the surface, but where is the transparency in the plan to replace the rating systems? And do we need to be suspicious that whatever rating systems might be up the legislators’ sleeves will favor charter and private schools?

From Chalkbeat
Indiana Republicans want to give the state education board the power to drop state tests and graduation rates from high school ratings — controversial metrics that some critics have long said don’t tell the full story.

The bill, debated Wednesday in the House Education Committee, would dramatically change the high school measuring stick to look more like the state’s new graduation requirements and recommendations from Gov. Eric Holcomb’s panel on workforce development. The bill doesn’t spell out exactly how the state could measure post-high school preparedness, giving the board wiggle room to decide on its own.

CHARTERS WASTE PUBLIC MONEY

Bill Phillis: Stop Wasting Money on Charter Schools and Fund Real Public Schools

From Diane Ravitch
The charter industry is notorious for outrageous high cost leasing arrangements that take funds away from charter classrooms. If charters receive more funding for facilities, much of it will be layered on top of the huge profits collected by charter facility companies allied with charter management companies.

Until charters are required to follow the same laws and rules as school districts, not one dime more should be provided to charters for facilities or any other purpose.


ALEC LEADS FIGHT AGAINST TEACHERS

ALEC and Corporate Reformers Make It Hard for Teachers to Cement Gains from Last Year’s Strikes

From Jan Resseger
Why wouldn’t lawmakers support the teachers’ actions which were widely popular— supported by parents and citizens who stood with their communities’ teachers. In every one of last year’s walkouts as well as the recent strike in Los Angeles, teachers highlighted the need for better funding to support adequate staffing of schools—smaller classes and the presence of essential professionals like counselors, school nurses, and librarians. What is motivating members of state legislatures to retaliate?

To answer this question, we must turn to The One Percent Solution (2017) by political economist Gordon Lafer for a reminder about the role of a corporate agenda across America’s statehouses: “Above all, the corporate agenda is coordinated through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)… ALEC, the most important national organization advancing the corporate agenda at the state level, brings together two thousand member legislators (one-quarter of all state lawmakers, including many state senate presidents and House Speakers) and the country’s largest corporations to formulate and promote business-friendly legislation… (I)t convenes bill-drafting committees… in which ‘both corporations and legislators have a voice and a vote in shaping policy.'” (The One Percent Solution, pp. 12-13)

INDIANA TECH LOSES EDUCATOR PREP ACCREDITATION

Tech's education accreditation bid denied

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Up to 40 Indiana Tech education students are in a bind after a national organization denied an accreditation request.

The university's School of Education applied for the status from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP.

As a result of the denial, the Indiana Department of Education alerted the Fort Wayne college that it will be unable to license graduates to teach in Indiana after this academic year, university spokesman Brian Engelhart said Tuesday. He noted it doesn't affect this year's graduates.

Indiana Tech also cannot accept new education students for the fall, nor is it scheduling or promoting education classes for that semester, Engelhart said.


STATE SUPERINTENDENT SHOULD BE AN EDUCATOR

Keep educators in charge of education policy

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
It is safe to say neither our governor nor our legislators were elected because of their views on education.

Now, in those back rooms, they are attempting to strip voters of one of the most grassroots institutions still available to them. They have passed a law that further distances voters from their ability to direct the course of one of their community's most fundamental institutions: public education.

They now deny voters the right to elect the state superintendent of public instruction; instead, the governor will be appointing one.

This is wrong on a number of levels, as we can see from the past two elections for state superintendent.

IS BOOKER THE RIGHT "CHOICE?"

Cory Booker has been an ed reform favorite. That could be a problem for his 2020 campaign.

Saying that "His vision for education has looked a lot like Barack Obama’s..." doesn't really help.

From Chalkbeat
On Friday, Booker vowed to run “the boldest pro-public school teacher campaign there is,” noting he’s previously been endorsed by his state’s teachers unions.

But at a time when teachers across the country are pushing for higher salaries and against charter schools, Booker’s record on education is sure to draw a skeptical eye from unions and public school advocates. And his past work alongside Betsy DeVos may make its way into campaign attack ads from his Democratic opponents, even though he voted against her as education secretary.


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Friday, February 8, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #331 – February 7, 2019

Dear Friends,

Public school advocates need to contact members of the House Education Committee along with your own House member to oppose damaging provisions of House Bill 1641. This bill, to be voted on in a rare 8:30 am Monday morning meeting on February 11th, would:
  • for the first time, force a public school district that closes a school to sell it at 50% market value to any private or religious school that wants to buy it.
  • for the first time, take portions of the property tax money raised when a public school district passes a local referendum and give that money to charter schools sitting within the boundaries of the school district.
  • give that money to charter schools for a general revenue referendum.
  • give that money to charter schools when the public school board has done all the work to pass the referendum.
  • give that money to charter schools even though charter school boards are unelected and unaccountable to taxpayers who may have opposed the referendum and would like to vote someone out of office in the next election.
  • give a huge incentive to public school boards to avoid seeking needed funds through a referendum when they know that a major chunk of the property tax money raised will pass right on to charter schools that have not done any of the difficult work required to pass the referendum.
Forcing Taxpayers to Subsidize Private and Religious School Buildings

HB 1641 is the first effort to get taxpayers to subsidize facilities for private and religious schools.

This is another step beyond having taxpayers subsidize tuition for private and religious schools, a still-controversial step taken in 2011 pushed by groups working to erode support for public schools and working to fund unaccountable and sometimes discriminatory private schools with tax money.

This line should not be crossed. HB 1641 should not force public school districts to sell buildings to private or religious schools at a 50% discount which dissipates the investment that taxpayers have made in that building.

Forcing Public School Districts to Share Referendum Revenue with Charter Schools

Here’s how much public school districts would lose to charter schools from referendum revenues based on the provisions of HB 1641:
  • Gary Community Schools: 53.4%
  • Indianapolis Public Schools: 25%
  • Muncie Community Schools: 18.5%
This bill is a bad idea. It has been held over for two meetings of the House Education Committee. It will be voted on at the 8:30 meeting of the House Education Committee on Monday, February 11, 2019.

Let your voice be heard by then!

Press reports have hinted that sharing referendum revenue with charter schools may be taken out of the bill by Representative Behning, the sponsor, but no action on that has yet been taken, so let your concerns be heard!

Let legislators know that you strongly oppose House Bill 1641:
  • This bill would funnel public tax benefits to private and religious schools.
  • This bill would deeply cut the property tax revenues that local districts could gain from local referendums.
  • This bill would erode local funding for public schools.
If local districts lose property tax money needed for transportation or building repairs, they must shore up their budget in these areas with general fund money that could be used to raise teacher salaries. This poorly timed bill would thus have the effect of reducing the money available for lifting teacher pay, a priority goal of this session in the agendas of the Governor and of both parties.

Contact the members of the House Education Committee who will vote on an amended bill next Monday, February 11, 2019 at 8:30 am:

Republicans: Representatives Behning (bill sponsor), Cook, Burton, Clere, DeVon, Goodrich, Jordan, Lucas, and Thompson

Democrats: Representatives Smith, DeLaney, Klinker, Pfaff

Then share your concerns with your own House Representative.

Links to House Education Committee members can be found here:
www.neifpe.org/p/indiana-legislative-education-committees.html
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 www.icpe2011.com 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.

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Sunday, February 3, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Feb 4, 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.

LEGISLATORS RETALIATE AGAINST STRIKING TEACHERS

Remember the 2018 teachers strikes in Republican-led states? Now legislators in 3 states are trying to retaliate.

Will the legislators from these states understand the source of their states' teacher shortage?

From The Answer Sheet
Remember the 2018 teachers strikes in Republican-led states that captured the attention of the country?

The Red For Ed — or #RedForEd — movement started when West Virginia teachers who were sick and tired of working for low pay and in resource-starved schools walked out of class even though such labor action is illegal in the state. The teachers started the strikes, and their unions followed.

...Now, in three of those states, Republican-led legislatures are retaliating, trying to pass bills that would make teachers' working lives more difficult.


OK Legislator To Teachers: Shut The Hell Up

Pretty sure this OK legislator has legislator friends in Indiana.

From Curmudgucation
Oklahoma has worked hard to get itself in the front of the pack of States Most Hostile To Public Education. Maybe not number one (relax, Florida), but right up there. Ultra-low teacher pay. Slack charter rules. The kind of state where the idea for improving education is to gear it more toward providing meat widgets for employers. The kind of state where a serious idea about improving teacher pay is to fire half the teachers and give their money to the remaining teachers, who will all teach twice as many students.

So it wasn't a huge surprise last year when teachers in the state walked out. While they didn't get everything they wanted, they were still confident that they has sent a message to the legislature.

Apparently some legislators misunderstood the message.

SHOULD SCHOOLS KEEP STATE MONEY WHEN STUDENTS LEAVE?

School lost students but not funding

From School Matters
State Rep. Vernon Smith made a good point Thursday when the Indiana House was discussing legislation to regulate virtual charter schools. The Gary Democrat suggested state funding for the schools should be based on how many students they enroll throughout the school year, not just in the fall.

Indiana schools receive state funding according to the number of students they enroll on a designated count day in September. If students leave after that day, the schools keep the money but no longer incur the cost of serving the students. And that happens a lot – especially at some of the virtual schools.


BEHNING BILL GIVES AWAY MORE PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDS

Lawmakers Weigh Bill To Split Referendum Funds With Local Charter Schools

Once again Indiana State Representative Bob Behning shows his preference for privatization. Charter's get closed school buildings for a $1 and when the charter closes their state loans are forgiven. Now Behning wants to give charters money that public school districts collect through referenda.

Will charters be audited on expenses like public schools? Will charters be required to serve all children? Will charters be required to hire certified teachers? The 'playing field' is not level. Charters don't deserve public school referenda funds.

From WFYI, Indianapolis
Traditional public schools might have to split their voter-approved referenda funding with nearby charter schools under a bill in the House.

House Education Committee chair Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) is proposing a bill that would require any districts that pass funding referenda to share those dollars with local charter schools.

...executive director of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents J.T. Coopman says the bill is just another way to strap districts for cash even further, as the state tries to figure out how to boost teacher pay.

If Indiana districts convince voters to boost their funding, should charter schools get a cut?

From Chalkbeat
Some Republican lawmakers want district schools to share extra tax dollars approved by voters for buildings and facilities with nearby charter schools — but the idea is falling flat with some educators and Democrats.


THE VIRTUAL CHARTER FAIL

House lawmakers make minor changes to online schools bill, but stricter plans remain up in the air

Too little is being done by the majority of our legislators to check the issues with virtual charter schools.

From Chalkbeat
House lawmakers have added three new amendments to a bill designed to rein in online schools: measures targeting student residencyabsences, and teacher training.

The new amendments unanimously passed Thursday and represented some of the few areas of bipartisan agreement over how Indiana should handle the troubled schools. Tougher proposals and amendments introduced this year and earlier have not gained traction with Republicans, who have been loathe to add regulations for charter schools in general.

WE'RE STILL TESTING, TESTING, TESTING

Bob Shepherd: How Long Will the Love Affair with Standardized Testing Go On?

From Diane Ravitch
As a nation, we are hypnotized by standardized tests and the scores they produce. We forget that the tests and the answers are written by human beings. The tests are not objective, except for the scoring, which is done by machine. Giving the same bad questions to all students does not reveal who learned the most or who is smartest. They do reveal who is best at figuring out what the person who wrote the question wants them to answer.

Bob Shepherd, who has written about curriculum, assessment, and is now teaching in Florida, writes:

“the field testing that ensued laid bare the intellectual bankruptcy of the testing”


ESA BILL THREATENS TO STEAL MORE PUBLIC FUNDS FROM PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Education savings accounts would be costly, wasteful

From School Matters
Hats off to Indiana’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency. Thanks to it, we can put a price tag on a proposal for a private-school voucher program open to all students, regardless of family income:

At least $170 million a year.

House Bill 1675, sponsored by Columbus Republican Ryan Lauer, would create what’s called an education savings account program. Students who attend accredited private schools could set up the accounts, and the state would deposit funds that they could use to pay tuition and other expenses.

Indiana can't afford voucher money-grab

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Southwest Allen County Schools Superintendent Phil Downs, who has closely tracked the financial effects of the voucher program on Indiana school districts, points out the cost of HB 1675 could double the cost of the state's voucher program.

“I would like to have it explained to me how this is fiscally conservative or responsible – at a time when per-student funding in the state has only grown at 10 percent over 10 years,” Downs said, noting a proposal to weaken the pension program for newly hired teachers. “I want to know how any of this shows that they value teachers at the level they claim they do.”

SCHOOLS MIRROR SOCIETY

2019 Medley #2: False Promises

From Live Long and Prosper
We keep looking for ways to fix public schools, but it's just as important for us look for ways to fix inequity and poverty. Our schools are just a mirror, reflecting the societal conditions our policy-makers, and we the voters, are unable or unwilling to correct. Until we focus on the source of the problem -- that some people are given rights and privileges denied to others -- we'll continue to fail.

"Students who enter charter school lotteries are not equivalent to students who don't. Plenty of research backs this up (see the lit review in this paper for a good summary of this research). Combine this with the high attrition rates in many "successful" charters, and the high suspension rates at many more, and you have a system designed to separate students by critical family characteristics that do not show up in student enrollment data." -- Jersey Jazzman


TEACHER DISRESPECT HAS CAUSED TEACHER SHORTAGE

There Is No Teacher Shortage

Attention Hoosier Legislators! There is NO teacher shortage!

From Curmudgucation
For almost twenty years (at least) the profession has been insulted and downgraded. Reformy idea after reformy idea has been based on the notion that teachers can't be trusted, that teachers can't do their job, that teachers won't do their jobs unless threatened. Teachers have been straining to lift the huge weight of education, and instead of showing up to help, wave after wave of policy maker, politician and wealthy dilettante have shown up to holler, "What's wrong with you, slacker! Let me tell you how it's supposed to be done." And in the meantime, teachers have seen their job defined down to Get These Kids Ready For A Bad Standardized Test.

And pay has stagnated or, in some states, been inching backwards. And not just pay, but financial support for schools themselves so that teachers must not only make do with low pay, but they must also make do with bare bones support for their workplace.

KOCHS PLAN TO END PUBLIC ED

Koch Brothers Plan to Disrupt Public Education, the “Lowest Hanging Fruit”

From Diane Ravitch
This is a shocking development: The infamous billionaire Koch brothers have a plan to disrupt American education, beginning with five states.

Their goal is to break up the public education system and enable public funding to flow to every kind of school, whether religious, private, homeschooling, for-profit, anything and everything. They call it “educational pluralism.” At the Koch Conference last year (700 people who paid $100,000 to attend), they declared that K-12 schooling was “the lowest hanging fruit,” and they planned to enter the field to disrupt public schools. Their ally Betsy DeVos paved the way.

The Koch brothers are living proof that this country needs a new tax structure to disrupt their billions, which they use to destroy whatever belongs to the public.


WHERE WILL TEACHERS STRIKE NEXT?

Where else teachers are primed to strike in 2019 — and why

From The Answer Sheet
In Indiana, where pay for teachers is below the national average, educators have pushed for lawmakers to increase salaries and school funding during the 2019 legislative session. Union leaders are not ruling out a strike. Last year, they decided not to join the strikes that spread from West Virginia to other states, including Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky.

The Indianapolis Star quoted union leaders as saying they would monitor the legislative session before deciding what to do. It said that although Indiana ranks about in the middle of states for teacher pay and class size, inflation-adjusted salaries for Indiana teachers dropped by more than 13 percentage points over the past 15 years. Indiana has one of the lowest per-pupil funding levels in the nation.

INDIANA VOTERS LOSE VOICE IN ED POLICY

Bill gives governor unusual power over schools

From School Matters
Legislators are fast-tracking a bill to give Indiana’s governor unusual power over education. If House Bill 1005 becomes law, the governor will soon be one of only five in the United States with total control over who serves as chief state school officer and on the state board of education.

The legislation would move up the effective date for having the governor appoint the chief state school officer. Current law gives the governor the appointment in January 2025; the bill moves the date to 2021.

The measure also changes the name Indiana’s chief state school officer from superintendent of public instruction to secretary of education. It was approved last week by the House and sent on to the Senate.

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