Monday, October 14, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Oct 14, 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.


Racial Disparity in Student Discipline Isn’t All About Race

From Gadfly On The Wall Blog
Black students are suspended from school at substantially higher rates than white ones.

That’s indisputable.

When teachers send kids to the office, when principals issue detentions and suspensions, the faces of those students are disproportionately black or brown.

So what does that mean?

Are minority children more badly behaved than white ones?

Or is it an indication that our public schools are overrun with racist teachers and principals?

Those appear to be the only choices in Trump’s America.

There’s either something desperately wrong with children of color or the majority of white staff at public schools can’t handle them.

But the reality is far more complex, and no matter who you are, it will probably make you uncomfortable.

The problem is that there are variables the binary choice above doesn’t even begin to explain, and chief among them is child poverty.


Indiana's next governor will have a greater impact on public education than in the past. For the first time the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction will be an appointed position instead of elected.

Indiana's Governor will now have a much greater impact on education policy and the voters will have a lesser one. The Governor will not only appoint the State Superintendent, but also appoints seven of the remaining nine members of the State Board of Education (SBOE). The other two members are appointed by legislative leaders. In Indiana, this means that all members of the SBOE as well as the State Superintendent are appointed by the State's Republican supermajority.

Voters of Indiana no longer have any direct impact on education policy in Indiana. We will have to choose a Governor very carefully in order to protect public education.

Why a candidate for governor wants to end vouchers, even though it’s politically ‘not possible’

Look very carefully at this candidate’s past as you consider him.

From Chalkbeat*
One candidate vying for the Democratic nomination in Indiana’s governor’s race is seizing on the frustration of public school educators by proposing a plan so sweeping that even he acknowledges it isn’t politically viable.

In his education plan, released Thursday, candidate Josh Owens calls for raising teacher pay by dissolving the state’s voucher program, which now serves some 35,000 Indiana students. It’s one of many of his ideas that — like previous progressive proposals, including using the state’s $2 billion budget reserves to fund teacher pay initiatives — are unlikely to win the backing of the state’s Republican supermajority.

GOP schools chief Jennifer McCormick stands by Democrat Eddie Melton as he launches run for governor

It seems logical that the Superintendent of Public Instruction would be for the candidate who actually supports public schools.

From Chalkbeat
While touting bipartisanship, Republican State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick stood by Sen. Eddie Melton on Tuesday night as he announced his run for Democratic nomination for Indiana governor.

But her show of support for a potential opponent of Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb also shows the strained relationship between McCormick and Holcomb’s administration.

“When I got into office I learned two things rather quickly,” she said while introducing Melton. “One, do not over-assume there is an appetite for bipartisan activity in Indiana. Secondly, I learned, do not underestimate the power of bipartisan activity when it is used in a positive manner.”


Betsy DeVos Breaks the Law by Continuing to Collect Debt from Students After Judge Told Her Not to

From Diane Ravitch
Will billionaire Betsy DeVos go to jail for defying the direct order of a judge?

In 2015, for-profit Corinthian Colleges went bankrupt after state attorney generals complained of fraud. Thousands of its former students were left in the lurch with a mountain of debt for a worthless “education.” After the company filed for bankruptcy protection, the federal department of education ruled that as many as 335,000 students might have their debts canceled, “under The Borrower Defense to Repayment program—an initiative started in 2016 to provide loan relief for students who had been defrauded by predatory schools.” This was during the Obama administration.

However, when DeVos became Secretary of Education, she limited the program of loan forgiveness and began to hound many of the students who had been defrauded. The applications of some 160,000 students for loan forgiveness were shelved. DeVos was ordered by Judge Sallie Kim to stop hounding students to repay student loans that should have been forgiven.

But, as we have seen before, Secretary DeVos has great sympathy for for-profit corporations and no sympathy for students who were defrauded.


K12 Inc. Welcomes Education Reform Leader to Executive Team

Missing from this puff piece about former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett, is any mention of his charter school grade-fixing scandal. In 2013, Bennett resigned as Florida Education Commissioner when news came out that he changed grades for an Indiana charter school run by a powerful Republican political donor.

The author of this article refers to Bennett as "one of the nation's foremost experts in education policy." We find that description ironic given his history of cheating in favor of political donors.

From Olean Times Herald
A powerhouse in the education reform movement has joined K12 Inc., the nation’s leading provider of online curriculum and school programs for students in kindergarten through high school.

Dr. Charles A. “Tony” Bennett—who has more than three decades of experience in school management, strategic planning, and operations—has been named Senior Vice President, Academics and External Relations. As one of the nation’s foremost experts in education policy, he will manage and implement a diverse portfolio of initiatives and programs that support, measure, track and ultimately improve student academic achievement and growth across K12-powered schools.


Advantage, public schools

From School Matters
Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski challenged conventional wisdom when they published research that found public schools were better than private schools at boosting student achievement.

Five years later, their conclusions have been confirmed several times over – especially by studies of state voucher programs that provide public funding for students to attend private schools.


Andrea Gabor: To Succeed in Business, Major in the Liberal Arts

From Diane Ravitch
Andrea Gabor blows up the myth that the path to success in business requires a major in business or that there is a “skills gap” in STEM subjects.

If you want to succeed in business, she writes, major in the liberal arts.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.


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