Monday, March 11, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Mar 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.


Rochester, New York: Students, Parents, and Educators Fight State Takeover of Public Schools

From Diane Ravitch
State takeovers have not worked anywhere. The Michigan Education Achievement Authority was a disaster and has closed down. The schools in the Achievement School District in Tennessee made zero gains as compared to similar schools not in the state district. Contrary to public relations, the New Orleans takeover district performs below the state average in one of the nation’s lowest performing states, and its “gains” relied on a mass exodus of poor kids who never returned and a mass influx of additional money from the federal government and foundations.

From Rochester: Please open the link and sign the petition to stop a state takeover.


D.C.: Teachers Unfairly Terminated by Michelle Rhee Win $5 Million Settlement: VICTORY!

From Diane Ravitch
“This settlement doesn’t take away the hurt and shame Michelle Rhee inflicted on so many great D.C. teachers—but after a long fight, it is a small step toward vindication for those who suffered from her top-down, test-and-punish policies that have failed both the arbitrator’s test and the test of time.

“Instead of helping teachers get what students need, Rhee embarked on a blame-and-shame campaign that was as ineffective as it was indefensible. There is a straight line between the Rhee agenda—which tried to strip educators of any voice and dignity and reduced students to test scores and teachers to algorithms—to the current walkouts in which educators are fighting for an appropriate investment in public schools. Teachers fight for what students need. That is as true now as it was when Michelle Rhee denigrated their voice.

“What happened a decade ago still stings, but the teachers in Washington, D.C., who were wrongly fired will take some measure of comfort from this settlement; and their unions will continue to fight to make sure the wrong-headed mentality that pitted students against their teachers never arises again.”


Thinking Strike

From Live Long and Prosper
The strikes are in response to years of neglect. Teachers are tired of being disrespected. They're tired of seeing their students left behind by shrinking budgets. Teachers are tired of seeing funds meant for their schools and their students being used for private, religious, and privately run charter schools. Scores of teachers are leaving their profession in frustration. Those who have stayed are standing up and fighting back.


2 EACS schools among kindest

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
When Marilyn Hissong, superintendent of East Allen County Schools, invited students and staffers to participate in the Middle School Kindness Challenge, she didn't expect it to end with a celebration complete with glittering gold and silver confetti.

She sought to add more kindness to the world, not accolades.

Yet recognition is what two EACS buildings received Tuesday. New Haven Middle School and Southwick Elementary School were among 10 national finalists in the most recent challenge cycle, during which nearly 600 schools participated.


Georgia: State Senate Says NO to Vouchers!

Learning from Indiana's mistakes?

From Diane Ravitch
The Georgia State Senate, controlled by Republicans, voted not to create a private school voucher program.

Critics said the program would eventually cost the state half a billion a year, defunding public schools.


Indiana is set to spend more than $160 million on vouchers this year, though growth has slowed

From Chalkbeat
In budget drafts currently up for debate, House Republicans are proposing Indiana set aside $4 million per year more to expand the state’s private school voucher program to increase funding for certain families above the poverty line. Under the plan, a family of four making between $46,000 and $58,000 annually could receive a voucher for 70 percent of what public schools would have received in state funding for the student. Currently, those families receive a 50 percent voucher.

Voucher program serves the top 20 percent

The budget approved last month by the Indiana House would create a new category of voucher. It would cover 75 percent of cost of attendance for families making up to 125 percent of the cutoff.

From School Matters
Over 1,300 households that participate in Indiana’s school voucher program have incomes over $100,000, according to the 2018-19 voucher report from the Indiana Department of Education.

That puts them in the top 20 percent of Hoosier households by income. So much for the argument that the voucher program, created in 2011, exists to help poor children “trapped” in low-performing schools.

Like previous state reports on the voucher program, the current report paints a picture of a program that primarily promotes religious education and serves tens of thousands of families that could afford private school tuition without help from the taxpayers.


Indiana Pays Millions to Virtual Charters that Educate No One

From Diane Ravitch
“This should be a massive alarm bell that outright fraud has been committed against Hoosier taxpayers to the tune of millions of dollars,” said Gordon Hendry, a state board of education member who led a committee last year to review virtual schools. “If this isn’t a scandal, I don’t know what is.”


Libertarians: Cory Booker is the Champion of Charters and Vouchers

From Diane Ravitch
In this article, a writer for the libertarian Reason magazine–which supports free-market solutions to all government problems–praises Cory Booker for his advocacy on behalf of charters and vouchers, and even dares to mention that he worked closely with Betsy DeVos, his ideological ally on education issues.

Booker is proud of his record as an advocate of privatization and a supporter of non-union schools.


Former senator: Teachers should think strike

From the Tribune Star
A retired Vigo County teacher and former Democratic state senator has turned to social media to gauge educator interest in a teacher strike.

Former senator: Teachers should think strike
Tim Skinner was known for being outspoken during his days in the Statehouse, and now he's speaking out about an issue near to his heart — the teaching profession in Indiana.

He believes that public education has been the target of the Republican Party for the past 15 years and refers to "senseless budget cuts, expansion of vouchers and crippling regulations."

Furthermore, he doesn't believe the Indiana State Teachers Association is taking a strong enough stand in response.

In an interview with the Tribune-Star on Feb. 22, ISTA president Teresa Meredith noted that many teachers across the state are calling for a walkout to raise awareness about the need to improve public school funding and teacher pay.


WFYI documentary peers inside Indiana’s radical attempt to take over failing schools

From Chalkbeat
A new radio documentary that aired this week dove into Indiana’s radical experiment to take over and turn around failing schools, weighing whether the extreme intervention into four Indianapolis Public Schools was worth it.

“It is not a simple answer,” WFYI reporter Eric Weddle said in his report. “It’s complex, and it’s messy.”

The hour-long documentary looks back on the eight years of state takeover. Next week, the state is expected to make a decision about the future of three of those schools.


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