Sunday, October 20, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Oct 21, 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.

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Betsy DeVos Floods North Carolina with Charter Cash

From Diane Ravitch
Betsy DeVos just dropped $36 million on North Carolina to lure children out of their public schools and into charter schools. The state is not sure it can spend the money.

North Carolina will now have more than $36 million in federal funding to help increase enrollment in charter schools, particularly for children from low-income groups.


Schools were quick to downplay ILEARN results, but experts stand by the test. Here’s why.

The standardized test is still the most powerful tool in the pocket of Indiana's privatizers. For more on the validity of ILEARN see Stop the Misuse of Tests.

From Chalkbeat*
While school leaders and lawmakers were quick to reason away concerns over shockingly low ILEARN scores, some testing experts and state education leaders are standing by Indiana’s new exam.

Calls to shield schools and teachers from any negative consequences of the low ILEARN scores were swift, after it was revealed that only one-third of students in grades 3-8 passed both the math and English portions of the exam. But when detangled from the question of accountability, experts say the results provide a valid measure of what students know.

Low 2019 scores weren’t a sign of a faulty exam, said Ed Roeber, Michigan’s former testing director and a consultant on Indiana’s technical advisory committee for assessments, said. Rather, Roeber said, it’s a reflection of “what instruction is or is not taking place in our schools.”

“I’m not discouraged by low performance,” he said. “I think it could be a real rallying cry for Indiana schools to evaluate what they are teaching and what students are learning.”


Bill Phillis: Never Thought This Would Happen in America

From Diane Ravitch
The state is in the process of replacing elected school board members in Youngstown. The electors in Youngstown elected board members. These board members will be replaced via the HB 70 process.

The Youngstown Board of Education has not been in control of the district for several years. State control of the district has not resulted in improvement. Therefore, elected board members are being removed from office because the state’s improvement process has failed. Sounds logical.

Youngstown board members have not been convicted of any crimes which would be cause for removal from office. Their hands have been tied by HB 70.

Congress and some state legislatures across the nation have not demonstrated a stellar performance. Should those elected officials be replaced by some convoluted appointment process?


The Koch network says it wants to remake public education. That means destroying it, says the author of a new book on the billionaire brothers.

You can listen to the "Have You Heard" podcast about Kochland at:

From the Answer Sheet
Early this year, the Koch network committed to starting an effort to transform public education. What would that look like?

The author of a new book on the billionaire Charles Koch and his late brother, David, says it would amount to the destruction of public education as we know it.

The Koch network is the influential assemblage of groups funded by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and more than 600 wealthy individuals who share his pro-business, anti-regulation view of economics and positions on social policy, such as climate change denial.

The focus on K-12 education follows long involvement by the Koch brothers in higher education. As leaders of a conservative movement that believes U.S. higher education is controlled by liberals who indoctrinate young people, they spent as much as an estimated $100 million on programs at hundreds of colleges and universities that support their views.

Now the network says it is going to try to transform K-12 education, though the details are unclear. The Kochs and their allies have long supported the school choice movement — which seeks alternatives to traditional public school districts — as well as the use of public funds for private and religious school education, as does Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.


IPS teachers union membership declines after a year of turmoil

Unions provide a voice for teachers, and this allows teachers to speak up for their students. Let’s hope we see union membership rise.

From Chalkbeat*
The weakened state of the union reduces the influence of educators at a pivotal moment for the state’s largest district. With a new superintendent in place, Indianapolis Public Schools leaders will face decisions on whether to close schools, boost teacher pay, and expand partnerships with charter schools.


These Indiana districts are asking voters to approve a tax increase for more school funding

So sad that our legislators waste our tax dollars on voucher schools and privately run charter schools and force the public schools, the only constitutionally mandated schools in the state, to become beggars.

From Chalkbeat*
One Marion County district is among 10 in Indiana that will ask voters to approve a tax increase on Nov. 5 to supplement state funding for local schools.

Lawrence Township is seeking a construction referendum, which would generate an additional $191 million and is not subject to the property tax cap. The funds would be used to expand and renovate school buildings. This vote marks the first school referendum for Lawrence Township, adding it to the growing number of cash-strapped districts in Indiana that rely on appealing directly to residents.

More than 115 of the state’s nearly 300 districts have put at least one referendum on the ballot since 2009, and they have been increasingly successful in passing them, according to data from Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy.

*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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