Monday, May 27, 2019

In Case You Missed It – May 27, 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.

(In Case You Missed It will take a one month hiatus. We'll be back in July. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.)


The Writer Who Couldn't Answer Standardized Test Questions About Her Own Work (Again)!

Advice from an author- “Teachers, don't waste time on test prep: you can't teach nonsense. Administrators, take the money you are spending on test prep and spend it on classroom libraries instead. There are no quick fixes. Kids need to read and write voluminously.”

From Curmudgucation
We are in standardized test season, and all across the country, students are taking the Big Standardized Test by which they, their schools, and their teachers will be judged. How absurd are these tests? Meet Sara Holbrook, the writer who couldn't answer test questions about her own work.

Back in 2017, Holbrook wrote an essay for Huffington Post entitled, "I Can't Answer These Texas Standardized Test Questions About My Own Poems." The writer had discovered that two of her poems were part of the Texas STAAR state assessment tests, and she was a bit startled to discover that she was unable to answer some of the questions.


French teacher is Southwest Allen Teacher of the Year

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Under the pretense of an emergency staff meeting, Homestead High School French teacher Marius Sagnon gathered with his colleagues this morning only to learn they were there for a celebration.

Superintendent Phil Downs announced Sagnon was the Southwest Allen County Schools’ Teacher of the Year. The award honors, promotes and celebrates excellence in the teaching profession.


DeVos Actually Visited A Public School in Poway, California

From Diane Ravitch
Education Week reported that Betsy DeVos visited a public school in Poway, California, and the school was asked to keep the visit a secret so that the Secretary would not encounter hostile crowds of protesters, which might endanger the lives of students or staff or DeVos herself. Of course, DeVos was well guarded. She came with her special retinue of U.S. Marshals to protect her. NBC has estimated that her security team will have cost $20 million by September of 2019.


Homestead adopts cum laude system in place of valedictorian, salutatorian

A Fort Wayne high school will not name a valedictorian or salutatorian at its commencement ceremonies this year.

Instead, Homestead High School will move to a cum laude system similar to most colleges that honors students based on grade-point average levels. Homestead students can now earn a cum laude, sum cum laude or magna cum laude award.

Homestead Principal Park Ginder told WANE 15 that Southwest Allen County Schools first brought up the idea in 2014 as a way to encourage students to take a deeper, more rigorous or academically intense load of classes.

This will allow the school to honor more deserving students, instead of just two.

Signing day lauds future jobs

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Nearly 50 students were hailed to be the foundation of the future Fort Wayne community as they signed letters of intent on Wednesday.

The event signified the completion of their select program at Fort Wayne Community Schools' Anthis Career Center and their commitment to a job.

The signing, modeled after events held for high school students marking their athletic commitment to a college, was for students who chose to go into career technical education after high school.


Public school teachers rally over funding: Aim to raise awareness of challenges

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The “right of every public school student to have a quality public education,” as Lisa Hamblin said, was not the only thing the group was fighting for. The fact that the event was on what Rehrer called “easily the busiest intersection of downtown” was no coincidence.

“We want this community to understand the impact of what's going on,” Keim said. “We're trying to educate the community and tell them it's about their children and grandchildren, not just us (teachers).”

Though the event lasted from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., for [Cheryl] Keim and the event attendees, the fight has only just begun. “We're just getting started,” she said.
See also: Dozens join 'Teacher Work-In' to raise support for public schools


Hammond superintendent recommends shuttering 3 schools, cutting more than 130 positions by next year; school board to vote Tuesday

Staring down a projected $10.2 million deficit, the superintendent of the School City of Hammond made recommendations this week to close three elementary buildings and cut more than 130 positions districtwide by the start of next school year.


Northwest Indiana educators protest funding changes, new rules

The educators were upset about state funding changes that give more money to charter schools and vouchers to attend private schools, less for poverty-stricken schools and no raises for teachers; a new rule that teachers must get 15 externship hours to renew their licenses, to give them experience in the business world; and a state law that makes the superintendent an appointed rather than elected position.


Lawmakers leave teachers disrespected – again

In Letters to the Editor, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
In the last General Assembly session, House Enrolled Act 1002 was passed. It states that 15 hours of professional growth experience will be required for renewal of a license to be a teacher. This can come one of three ways, but can be shortened to two methods – an externship at a business or professional development partnered with a business to highlight the needs of the community.

Most teachers, including me, love our job. However, like most teachers, I have other jobs in the summer to supplement my income to make ends meet. It is the complete lack of comprehension, trust and value of us as people, let alone our jobs, for this measure to be passed. When are we supposed to do this? In the summer when we are working on next year's material? Or do we take winter or spring break to do that as well and tell our families, “Sorry, mom/dad has to go do stuff for work instead of being a family member.”

I would like to hear from a legislator to give me an example of another profession that makes its employees seek other professions/professionals to shadow for their own job – to supposedly make them better at it. I will even go one step further and invite each and every state legislator to come and have an externship with a teacher for a week, but keep in mind it has to be on your own time, not when you're supposed to be working. By your own ideas, that should make you better at your job, right?

...Greg Bierbaum

Fort Wayne


Pearson’s Plans for 2025: Make Sure You Are Seated When You Read This

From Diane Ravitch
Pearson has plans for the future. Its plans involve students, education, and profits. Pearson, of course, is the British mega-publishing corporation that has an all-encompassing vision of monetizing every aspect of education.

Two researchers, Sam Sellar and Anna Hogan, have reviewed Pearson’s plans. It is a frightening portrait of corporate privatization of teaching and of student data, all in service of private profit.


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