Monday, April 1, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Apr 1, 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.


The latest ‘shockingly bad’ education idea in North Carolina

Upstart is already running in Indiana.

From the Answer Sheet
...It’s the latest shockingly bad idea out of North Carolina.

This week state legislators filed a bill which would create a three-year year pilot program to deliver pre-kindergarten education at home via computer to what it terms “at risk” children.

The program, called UpStart, would cost a mere $500,000 per year. It would be available to families living below the federal poverty line and children of active duty military personnel and would provide both Internet access at home to families that can’t afford it and technical support to help them operate the software...

I can’t believe I am actually writing these words, but the idea of having 4-year-olds going to preschool by looking at a computer in their home is horrendous...


Voucher myths

School Voucher Advocates Peddle Lots Of Myths. Six Of Them Are Debunked Here.

From Americans United
Voucher advocates rely on a number of fallacious arguments. Here are six of the most common ones debunked...

People who send their children to private schools are taxed twice, once to pay for public schools and once for the private school tuition they pay.
Private school tuition is not a tax; it’s an extra expense some people have chosen to bear. You don’t get a tax break because you’ve chosen to patronize a private provider for a service the government makes available. If that were the case, people could demand tax breaks because they buy books from Amazon and don't use the public library, because they built their own swimming pool and don’t go to the municipal one or because they own a car and don’t rely on mass transit. There are certain public services we are all expected to support, even if we don’t use them directly. An educated citizenry benefits us all. That’s why most of us pay taxes to support public schools, including people who don’t have children and people whose children are no longer in school...

Voucher school condemned

Muncie, Indiana: Voucher School for 6 Students Condemned, Deplorable Conditions

From Diane Ravitch
Fire and building inspectors condemned the Delaware Christian Academy after entering the building and finding its six students huddled around a heater for warmth. Betsy DeVos always says that parents always know best, but why did these parents send their children to school in an unsafe building?

”Fire and building inspectors say they found six students at the private Delaware Christian Academy “huddled around a kerosene heater in blankets trying to stay warm” one morning last week.

“Authorities ordered the building — the former Riley Elementary School on North Walnut Street — to be vacated. The children’s teacher took them home.

“Meanwhile, the city building commissioner on Wednesday condemned the structure, finding it unsafe for occupancy.


DeVos is the worst of a bad lot.

The miseducation of Betsy DeVos, the Cabinet's worst

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Picking on the Special Olympics is minor stuff for DeVos. She's an education hobbyist. Neither she nor her children ever attended a public school, but this doesn't stop DeVos from thinking she knows the answers. She's a longtime advocate of taking taxpayer money out of the public system to support charter and religious schools.

But it's when it comes to college that DeVos really earns her dubious honor. Helping students who racked up tens of thousands of dollars in student loans attending for-profit colleges that lured them in with phony come-ons and job placement statistics?

Not on DeVos' watch. The Education Department stalled rules intended to make it easier for these people to receive relief...

DeVos wants to allow discrimination

DeVos, testifying before Congress, refuses to say whether schools should be allowed to discriminate on basis of sexual orientation or gender identity

From the Answer Sheet
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was asked repeatedly Tuesday by a member of Congress whether she believes schools should be allowed to discriminate against students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. She did not directly answer.

DeVos and her bad record.

Betsy DeVos and her No Good, Very Bad Record on Public Education

From Education Votes
As President Donald Trump’s secretary of education, Betsy DeVos has worked to subvert public education. She has promoted the privatization of public schools through vouchers, called for deep cuts to federal funding, rolled back protections for vulnerable children, and shilled for the for-profit college industry that has defrauded countless students.


IPS set to lose millions because of pro-privatizer legislation.

IPS sees ‘tremendous market’ for Broad Ripple. First, it needs changes to the law.

“When worlds collide” -- Hoosier legislators would have to give up their 1 dollar give-aways to charter schools in order to serve the business community. Meanwhile IPS students and public schools lose.

From Chalkbeat
Indianapolis Public Schools offered a comprehensive analysis Tuesday, showing strong demand for housing, retail, and office development on the 16-acre site of the closed Broad Ripple High School. But before the district can sell the property on the open market — instead of offering it up to a charter school — it needs the support of state lawmakers.

The future of the Broad Ripple campus has been in limbo for more than a year. That’s when the Indianapolis Public Schools board voted to close that high school and two others because of low district enrollment. The building, which is situated in a thriving and rapidly developing area, is one of the district’s most valuable assets and leaders see it as a potential source of revenue for the cash-strapped school system.

At the time it closed the schools, Indianapolis Public Schools estimated the value of Broad Ripple at $6 million to $8 million, but a district official said that it is based on old analysis and it could fetch more.

The district’s options for selling the property, however, are limited by a state law that requires school districts to make vacant buildings available to charter schools for $1. In order to sell the building to a private buyer, the district would need legislators to amend that law.

Legislature has failed to fund public schools

Time to end public-school funding games

From NEIFPE member Terry Springer
For a decade, legislators have pulled out support for public education. Legislators have failed to fund public schools adequately. They have taken more and more money from the education coffer for vouchers and thus funded religious education with public dollars. They favor private and parochial parents with tax credits not given to public school parents and fail to require transparency of private, parochial schools. They require public schools to do more with fewer resources. They promote privatization though evidence shows for-profit charters and virtual schools fail students and fail as businesses.

As bills in the 2019 session move from committees to the full House and Senate, legislators continue to remove the blocks from the public education tower

Legislature fails schools.

Lakeland School Corp. votes to close 2 elementary schools

The Lakeland School Corporation will be going from five schools to three, closing down two elementary school sat the end of this year. The school board voted Monday 4-2 in favor of closing the schools.

There is currently one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools in the district. With declining enrollment, Lakeland leadership said they are expecting an operating loss of nearly $700,000 this year and $900,000 next year. The three-school proposal would save them $1.28 million by the end of 2020. Most of that savings will come from cutting staff.


Bad week for ‘school choice’

From School Matters
Last week was a bad one for the claim that school choice can cure whatever ails education in Indiana. Choice doesn’t always lead to good outcomes.

Start with the story of Delaware Christian Academy in Muncie. Although the school has received $1.3 million in state voucher funding over five years, enrollment dwindled to six students. The building was condemned after an inspector found students “huddled around a kerosene heater in blankets.”

Then look to Indianapolis Lighthouse East...



Beto O’Rourke’s Wife Works for an Organization that Brings Charter Schools to El Paso

From Diane Ravitch
I was an enthusiastic supporter of Beto O’Rourke when he ran against Ted Cruz. I regularly sent him checks of $50, $100. I would have loved to see Beto beat Cruz. I heard that Beto’s wife Amy was connected to the charter school movement but decided that was less important than beating Cruz.

Now that Beto is running for President, it matters more. I don’t want another Democratic President pushing privatization of public schools and public money.

i won’t support any candidate who supports charters and/or vouchers...

Charter waste and fraud

Report: The Department Of Education Has Spent $1 Billion On Charter School Waste And Fraud

From Peter Greene (Curmudgucation) in Forbes
In 1994, the Charter School Fund was added to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA); in 1995 it began dispersing federal funds to states so that states could use the money to pilot charter schools. Since then, the CSP has handed over about $4 billion to support charter schools, and there are supposed to be some federal guidelines attached to the process. But a new report from the Network for Public Education charges that roughly $1 billion of that has been lost to fraud and waste in the charter school sector. Findings of the report were brought to the attention of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos during this week's hearings; her responses were not encouraging.

Report: U.S. government wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools and still fails to adequately monitor grants

Also: see Diane RavitchBombshell Report: Congress Wastes Nearly $1 Billion on Defunct Charter Schools

From the Answer Sheet
The U.S. government has wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools that never opened, or opened and then closed because of mismanagement and other reasons, according to a report from an education advocacy group. The study also says the U.S. Education Department does not adequately monitor how its grant money is spent.

The report, titled “Asleep at the Wheel” and issued by the nonprofit advocacy group Network for Public Education, says:

• More than 1,000 grants were given to schools that never opened, or later closed because of mismanagement, poor performance, lack of enrollment or fraud. “Of the schools awarded grants directly from the department between 2009 and 2016, nearly one in four either never opened or shut its doors,” it says...

Charter teacher's salary a "vow of poverty"

This Indianapolis teacher said he shouldn’t have to take a ‘vow of poverty’ to stay in the classroom

Even the charter teachers are bailing. Did this teacher not understand that part of the reason teachers are paid so poorly is because our legislators would rather divert funds to charters and vouchers than fully fund public schools which accept all students? You can not split up the pot 3 ways and serve children or pay teachers well. Voters must make our legislators understand this simple math.

From Chalkbeat
His teacher’s salary was already stretched precariously thin to pay rent when Andrew Pillow learned that his school was setting a pencil quota to save money: only one box of pencils per quarter.

But pencils were always disappearing. Pillow, who teaches at KIPP Indy College Prep Middle School in Indianapolis, found himself taking twice-weekly trips to the store to buy enough pencils for his students. Where on earth were they going?

Well, he eventually found out — but not before experiencing the utter humiliation of not having enough money to pay his share of the bill on a first date.

It’s funny now, Pillow said, but then … Not so much. Teachers shouldn’t have to take a vow of poverty to stay in their careers, he said.

Charters on the defensive

Indiana virtual schools granted extra time to defend themselves against troubling allegations

All this mess created by Hoosier legislators! Time to stop using our tax dollars on charters!

From Chalkbeat
The authorizer of two virtual schools accused of mismanaging state tests, student enrollment, and special education services voted Monday night to give the schools more time to defend themselves — even after they missed a key deadline for submitting a written explanation.

The Daleville public school board, the authorizer for Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, voted unanimously to push back the public hearing about whether the schools’ charters should be revoked, which could lead to their closure.

Taxpayers still paying for closed charters

Philadelphia: It Takes Years and Millions to Close Failing Charter Schools and the Public Pays for Everything

From Diane Ravitch
Lisa Haver, Parent Activist in Philadelphia, writes here about how it takes years and millions of dollars to close failing charter schools. The public must pay the cost of challenging the charter and pay the cost of defending the charter. The charter operator gets a free ride for failing. Only the taxpayers and students lose.

Why is it easy to close a public school but hard to close a charter school? One guess: charter lobbyists wrote the state law.

Ohio charters fail, and then ask for more money.

Dyer: Ohio’s Failing Charter Sector Wants a 22% Funding Increase

From Diane Ravitch
In Ohio, most charter schools are graded either D or F by the state. This very low-performing sector costs Ohio taxpayers nearly $1 Billion per year.

Now the charters want a 22% increase in funding.

Stephen Dyer explains here why they should get no increase at all.


Tony Thurmond: “Without Public Schools, I Might Not Be State Superintendent Today”

From Diane Ravitch
“Here’s my concern: you cannot open charter schools and new schools to serve every single student in our state,” he continued. “If you take the competition approach, that means some students, a lot of students, will be left behind. And again, I don’t believe that that’s what our mission is. I believe that the promise that we make to each other in society is to provide opportunity to get an education, to live a better life, to be able to acquire what you want through your hard work for yourself and your family. So for me that means that competition is OK in some environments, but when it comes to education we’ve got a responsibility to make sure that every single student gets an education.”


No comments: