Sunday, February 24, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Feb 25, 2019

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention in NEIFPE's social media. Keep up with what's going on, what's being discussed, and what's happening with public education.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.


'Unbelievable.' South Bend's Navarre school could close because leaders still have no plan

Is it appropriate that the entire burden of low student achievement be placed on the school, teachers, and staff? Is the cause of low student achievement the school's alone?

From the South Bend Tribune
Without a plan to act on in March, the state education board could consider other steps for Navarre: closing the school, taking it over and assigning a group to operate it, or merging the school with a higher-performing one.


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

Will Hoosier teachers ever stand up for their profession? Or will they continue to validate state legislators’ opinions that teaching is for losers and that their students and public education don’t matter?

From Chalkbeat
In a fiery Facebook post, Kokomo teachers union president Nicki Fain Mundy tallied the toll: It took her 14 years and a master’s degree to crack a $50,000 salary.

The numbers tell her that she’s making far less than college-educated professionals in other fields. She fights for small raises but watches her pay disappear when insurance costs rise and when the rising cost of living bites deeper and deeper into her paycheck.

Indiana’s legislative leaders are pledging to find money to increase teacher pay, which, at an average salary of around $50,000, ranks the lowest among neighboring states. But so far, their proposals have included studying the problem, asking districts to save money to fund the raises, and funneling small increases to schools in the hopes that teachers could get pay bumps.

These lukewarm proposals, plus an overall concern that Indiana lawmakers don’t value teaching, could create conditions that lead to a teacher walkout. State teachers union leaders aren’t encouraging action just yet, but other local leaders say they want lawmakers to know that teachers are fed up and fired up.

We asked Indiana teachers why they’re leaving the classroom: ‘Death by a thousand cuts’

An indictment of our legislators on the subject of public education and teaching in Indiana.

From Chalkbeat
"I felt overwhelmed by what the legislators were inflicting on us, the lack of true support from administrators, and just the stress that is teaching even in the best of times. Most of all — I was exhausted, I guess. Death by a thousand cuts, more or less."

What will it take for Hoosier teachers to stand up?

More money for charters. More money for vouchers. Teacher salaries will have to wait.

From Live Long and Prosper
What will it take for Indiana's teachers to stand up for themselves and their students? (Teachers, who did you vote for in the last election?)

What will it take for Indiana to get fully funded public schools...with qualified teachers in every classroom...with reasonable class sizes...with competitive salaries...

The legislature isn't going to help.


This time, it wasn’t about pay: West Virginia teachers go on strike over the privatization of public education (and they won’t be the last)

From The Answer Sheet
This time, it wasn’t about pay.

West Virginia teachers walked off the job across the state Tuesday to protest the privatization of public education and to fight for resources for their own struggling schools.

It was the second time in a year that West Virginia teachers left their classrooms in protest. In 2018, they went on strike for nine days to demand a pay increase, help with high health-care costs and more school funding — and they won a 5 percent pay hike. On Tuesday, union leaders said that, if necessary, they would give up the pay hike as part of their protest. They are fighting legislation that would take public money from resource-starved traditional districts and use it for charter schools and for private and religious school tuition.


School voucher surprise

Indiana legislators add more money to the nation's largest voucher program. The ed reform in Indiana through vouchers and charter schools has yet to be "evaluated" by the legislature which funnels tax money into private pockets.

From School Matters
Indiana Republican legislators dropped a surprise Monday. They are proposing to increase state funding for some students who receive state-funded vouchers to attend private schools.

They want to add a new category of voucher, bridging the gap between low-income families that qualify for “full vouchers” and middle-income families that get “half vouchers.”

Currently, students who qualify by family income for free or reduced-price school lunches qualify for a voucher worth 90 percent of state per-pupil funding received by their local public school district.

Students whose families make up to 150 percent the free-and-reduced-price lunch cutoff can get a voucher worth 50 percent of state per-pupil funding for their local public school district.

Under the proposal, students from families that make up between 100 percent and 125 percent of the cutoff would qualify for an “intermediate voucher” worth 70 percent of state per-pupil funding for the local public schools.


Legislators OK with discrimination

From School Matters
Indiana House Republicans lined up four-square in favor of discrimination last week. They rejected a proposal to prohibit private schools that receive state funding from discriminating against students and staff because of disability, sexual orientation or gender identification.


Why one Harvard professor calls American schools’ focus on testing a ‘charade’

The reform policies adopted and supported by Hoosier legislators termed “an unmitigated disaster.” It's time to start voting for people who respect public education, teachers, and children.

From Chalkbeat
Harvard professor Daniel Koretz is on a mission: to convince policymakers that standardized tests have been widely misused.

In his new book, “The Testing Charade,” Koretz argues that federal education policy over the last couple of decades — starting with No Child Left Behind, and continuing with the Obama administration’s push to evaluate teachers in part by test scores — has been a barely mitigated disaster.

The focus on testing in particular has hurt schools and students, Koretz argues. Meanwhile, Koretz says the tests are of little help for accurately identifying which schools are struggling because excessive test prep inflates students’ scores.


Indiana: Just How Corrupt Are Our Elected Officials?

State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick, a Republican, has strong words against her party colleagues in the legislature.

From Diane Ravitch
McCormick, a Republican, blasts Indiana Republican lawmakers by saying they aren’t about helping kids or schools, they’re about making deals with edu-businesses at the expense of our children.

A Republican in the driver’s seat of education is bearing witness to the corruption in Indiana’s education system. Hopefully voters will listen.

The Republican party in Indiana is no longer about “small government” or “family values,” they are about backroom deals and crony capitalism.


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