Monday, April 8, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Apr 8, 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.


Have We Stolen A Generation's Independent Thought?

We're teaching students not to think...and standardized tests are part of the problem.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
"Kids these days," the complaint begins. "They cannot think for themselves." The complaint has come across my desk three times this week, voiced by someone in the higher education world complaining about the quality of student arriving in their ivy-covered halls.

It's worth noting that the observation itself has no particular objective, evidence-based support. There's no college student independent thought index we can consult to check for a dip. Just the subjective judgment of some people who work at the college level. So the whole business could simply be the time-honored dismay of an older generation contemplating the younger one.


Bombshell Report About Copycat Legislation Written by ALEC but Adopted by Your State

From Diane Ravitch
ALEC and corporate America are churning out legislation that is introduced in your state under false pretenses as “reform.” Every one of these bills is meant to protect corporations and profiteers, whether in health care or any other industry.

You may have noticed a sudden mushrooming of voucher legislation in state after state. It was not written by your legislators. It was written by the rightwing corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC.

Not only is ALEC funded by corporations, it is funded by the DeVos family and the Koch brothers.

Need to learn more about ALEC? 

Bill Moyers: The United States of ALEC

ALEC Exposed

ALEC & Education


Indiana foster children are less likely to graduate, more likely to be suspended, a new report shows

It would be nice if on seeing a report like this if our Hoosier legislators would make it a mission to support public schools so that they’d have the resources to support these children. Instead, the General Assembly would rather give to charters and vouchers who don’t have to accept or keep children who need intense support.

From Chalkbeat
Indiana now has its first look at how well the state is educating the 9,000 school-age children in foster care, and the findings are discouraging. Foster children are more likely than their peers to attend underperforming schools, and only 64 percent graduate from high school.


Indiana could scrap test seen as a barrier to training more teachers of color

Of course we need more teachers of color in Indiana! And we also need a way to vet qualified candidates for teachers. This test just is not it.

From Chalkbeat
A panel of Indiana House lawmakers took steps to get rid of a teacher preparation test that some educators say keeps teachers of color out of the classroom.

The House Education Committee unanimously voted on Wednesday to remove the state requirement that students pass the basic reading, writing, and math skills test known as “CASA” as freshmen or sophomores before they enter college teacher preparation programs. The provision was added to a bill that would change some rules about alternative teacher licenses, which passed the committee unanimously as well.


Ongoing neglect hits rural schools hardest

From Southwest Allen County Schools Superintendent, Phil Downs, in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
If Indiana is to pursue the noble goal of funding all its children's educations, it should do that. Since the voucher program began in 2011, no additional money has been added to the budget to fund the vouchers, and the program has created a de facto final step in the school funding process which is hurting most communities in Indiana.

Funding falls short on effort, fairness

From School Matters
Indiana’s highest-poverty school districts spend only 65 percent of what’s needed for their students to achieve modest academic success, according to a new education finance report from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education and the Albert Shanker Institute.

Is it because we can’t afford to do better? Not at all. Indiana is near the bottom of the states when it comes to funding “effort,” the percentage of gross state product spent on schools.

It’s more compelling evidence that state legislators should be thinking a lot bigger as they decide how much of the two-year state budget to spend on K-12 education.

State blamed as teacher pay stalls

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Most seem to agree that Indiana teachers don't get paid enough.

But the disconnect comes in where the blame lies. Is the legislature not providing enough money? Or are school districts spending too much on administration and too little on teacher salaries?


Federal study finds charter middle schools didn’t help students earn college degrees

So why are we allowing our legislators to misuse our tax dollars to support charters?

From Chalkbeat
Attending a sought-after charter middle school didn’t increase a student’s chance of attending or graduating college, a new U.S. Department of Education study showed.

The report, released Monday, also found little connection between charter school quality, as measured by test scores, and college outcomes.

“The overall conclusion that there is little difference between charter schools and non-charter schools is not shocking to me,” said Sarah Cohodes, a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College. She pointed to prior research showing charters perform comparably to district schools nearby.


Indiana: Virtual School Scams Taxpayers and Students

From Diane Ravitch
In every state that has authorized virtual charter schools, these schools are marked by two characteristics:

1. They are very profitable.

2. The “education” they provide is abysmal.

Typically, they have high attrition, low graduation rates, and low scores on state tests. The state fails to monitor them for quality. Students and taxpayers are fleeced.

Some parents say getting help was like ‘pulling teeth’ as troubled Indiana virtual schools grew

From Chalkbeat
Morrice’s portrayal, which he documented in a complaint to the state education department two years ago, lines up with some accusations leveled against the 8-year-old online school and its sister school by its authorizer last month: that thousands of students for whom the schools received millions of dollars in state funding didn’t complete or sign up for classes. The schools say the allegations, which could lead to the revocation of their charters and eventually their closure, are false and based on incomplete information.

Some virtual school students and parents who spoke with Chalkbeat also echoed Morrice’s description of how the school often didn’t give students enough attention, including not returning phone calls and emails. The parents and students said they struggled to get teachers and school staff to communicate, transfer records, provide educational advice, or ensure credits were processed.


Hoosiers lose direct say over state school chief

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
House Bill 1005 was signed by the Indiana Senate president pro tem on April Fool's Day and quickly moved to Gov. Eric Holcomb's desk. With his signature Wednesday, the governor claimed appointment authority for the state superintendent of public instruction.

Holcomb scores a victory for his Next Level Agenda, which called for removing the post from statewide ballots. State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick cleared the way to move up the 2025 appointment date when she announced last October that she would not seek reelection. But she also suggested there were behind-the-scenes efforts to do so regardless of her plans.

Who pushed appointed-superintendent law?

From School Matters
McCormick, a Republican, was elected in 2016 after a campaign in which she received a lot of support from advocates for charter schools and vouchers, including the Chamber of Commerce and, especially, the advocacy group Hoosiers for Quality Education. But the former Yorktown, Indiana, school superintendent turned out to be a forceful and effective advocate for public schools.

You can imagine that some of her backers were disappointed and wanted her out, sooner rather than later.


The Special Olympics funding outcry is over, but it’s been crickets over some of DeVos’s other proposed education budget cuts. Think civics, history, arts...

From the Answer Sheet
The Trump administration has proposed eliminating a $4.8 million program to enhance American civics and history education. It has also called for making these cuts that would eliminate programs:

• $1.2 billion for programs that help boost student academic achievement before and after school and during the summer.

• $190 million to boost literacy instruction from birth to age 20...

• $27 million for arts education programs for children from low-income families and students with disabilities.

• $10 million to boost community schools...

• More than $207 billion over 10 years from student loan programs...

DeVos, Class Size, and the Reformistan Bubble

From Curmudgucation
...The shock and scandal and outrage is not that DeVos would offer up this class size bullshit on the Hill, but that she stands on top of a whole pile of educational amateurs who have been pushing this bullshit for at least a decade, despite the mountain of evidence and the actual teachers who speak against it.

Why I was Shaking My Head at Betsy DeVos

From Living in Dialogue
I can only shake my head in disbelief.

The problem for DeVos is that there is ample research that shows just the opposite – that class size matters very much. My friend Leonie Haimson has worked for years with a group called Class Size Matters, and they provide here a set of studies supporting this..

Another friend, Nancy Flanagan, attributes the source of the idea that larger classes are just fine to every billionaire’s favorite education researcher, Eric Hanushek. Way back in 1998, Hanushek suggested there was no real value in reducing class sizes– using test scores, of course. In 2011, Bill Gates urged policymakers to stop worrying about class size.


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