Monday, November 25, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Nov 25, 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 Red for Ed Rally in Indianapolis filled NEIFPE's social media this week. Normally we post items with more than one-thousand hits and the most popular pieces will hit four or five thousand. This week's most popular post topped 24 thousand hits.

We've grouped articles together, and just linked to some to save space.


We asked Indiana teachers why they are rallying. Here’s what they said.

Why are teachers rallying tomorrow? It is NOT all about pay!

From Chalkbeat*
Better working conditions, higher pay, increased funding for public school classrooms, less emphasis on standardized testing and more respect — these are some of the things teachers say they will be fighting for Tuesday at a massive Indiana Statehouse rally that’s expected to draw as many as 12,000 educators.

Another Reason Why I March #RedforEd

From NEIFPE member Donna Roof
Phyllis would be proud of this Day of Action, yet she would also understand the difficult decisions public school officials would face and the effects of such decisions on parents and students. She would know that teachers would be conflicted about taking the day or not out of concern for their students. However, she believed so strongly in public schools that she would see the urgency and necessity of having a Day of Action. Like one of her favorite quotations goes: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; in fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)

Despite all her worries, she would greatly appreciate all that administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, community members, and students are doing to save public education. Her heart would be filled with pride because she loved teaching.

Indiana governor won’t see big Statehouse teacher rally

Holcomb’s office says he will be in Florida on Tuesday for a Republican Governors Association conference that was scheduled months ago.

His trip comes as teacher unions say more than 100 school districts around the state will be closed while their teachers head to the Indianapolis protest.

Ed rally expected to draw throng

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
“It's our presence that matters,” said Sally Sloan, executive director of American Federation of Teachers Indiana.

“We are collectively committed to fighting for the investments our children need to thrive, as well as the professional freedom of our teachers to serve individual students in a way that honors our years of specialized training and experience.”


Teachers' rally plans disruptive, necessary

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
If lawmakers thought additional funding would appease teachers, they were wrong. Teachers' dissatisfaction is about far more than paychecks. It's about the legislature's insistence on a failed and punitive standardized testing program. It's about policies that favor charter schools and taxpayer-supported private and parochial schools. It's about baseless licensing requirements and the general disrespect the General Assembly has shown to the teaching profession.

EDITORIAL: Canceling class isn't the best way for teachers to be heard

Make no mistake: There are a number of serious issues teachers are trying to spotlight in this demonstration.

Average teacher pay in the Hoosier state is behind that of neighboring states, meaning some of the best teachers don't stay here — or never even consider teaching in Indiana.

A statewide teacher shortage results.

Many schools must turn to voters every few years via referendum to generate enough funding for needed expansion or renovation in our public school infrastructure or programming.

But is shuttering schools and walking off the job for the day the best way to drive home these very real concerns?

Is leaving student instruction up to eLearning via computer the best way for teachers to reinforce their worth to the public?


Jennifer McCormick: Red for Ed eclipsed politics as usual at Statehouse

From Pal Item
Kids deserve more. Kids deserved this mobilization of professional solidarity. Given the state mandate of 180 instructional days for traditional public schools, parents can be assured schools will meet this obligation despite many district closures on this unprecedented day. Responsible citizenship is not easy and often requires difficult decisions. Kids deserve purposeful inclusion of educator’s voices into our state’s decision making. Without a doubt, educators and supporters will continue to advocate for Hoosier students, as our kids deserve nothing less. Championing public education cannot be just a moment; it must be a movement.

NEIFPE Members in Indy, November 19, 2019. L-R Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer (ICPE), Michelle Smith (ICPE),
Terry Springer (NEIFPE), Jennifer McCormick (Indiana Ed Superintendent), Donna Roof (NEIFPE),
Jenny Robinson (ICPE), Kay Maren (ICPE).

Ball State students, professors hold 'Red for Ed' protest on campus

From the Ball State Daily News
Alison Schwartz, EEJ member and senior elementary education major, said it’s important to advocate for public education.

“This is important because our teachers are important, and our kids are important,” Schwartz said. “If you can’t fully fund your teachers and your schools and support them, then how are you supporting your kids?”

As part of her major’s concentration, she said she works with students who don’t speak English as their first language.

“Those students don't always have somebody who's standing up for them and rooting for them,” Schwartz said. “And those people who are standing up and rooting for them aren’t getting the resources that they need to do it well.”

147 Indiana school districts cancel classes as teachers protest at the state Capitol

From CNN
Indiana State Teachers Association President Keith Gambill said teachers spent the day outside the Capitol with the intention of showing them they are at a crisis point.

"We believe that we have made a point and have put legislators on notice that it is time to change the way they are legislating public schools in Indiana and to remind them that there is an election in November," Gambill said.

NEIFPE members also rallied in Fort Wayne.

‘This can’t start and end today’: Thousands of teachers flood the Statehouse in Red For Ed rally

“Teachers rally because other methods of telling their story have been “ignored, dismissed or discouraged,”

From Chalkbeat*
Republican leaders largely laid low during the rally, with the notable exception of State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick.

“Indiana kids deserve to have adequate and equitable funding,” she said during a press conference. “It’s easy to shift the blame. It’s easy to blame local superintendents … It starts upstairs in the Statehouse.”

McCormick made an unscheduled appearance at AFT’s gathering, surrounded on stage by Democrat lawmakers. She and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Eddie Melton walked out together to greet the crowd Tuesday morning.

“This is Day One of many days,” McCormick said when addressing teachers. “This can’t start and end today.”

Thousands of Indiana teachers convene for massive 'Red for Ed' rally

From ABC News
Nearly half of Indiana's public schools will be closed on Tuesday as thousands of teachers descend on the state's capital for a "Red for Ed" protest.

Over 100 school districts in the state have closed after the massive amount of teachers took the day off for the rally, according to the IndyStar. This equates to approximately 45% of public school students -- or more than half a million children -- getting the day off from school.

Thousands of Teachers Pack Indiana Statehouse, Calling for Increased Pay and More School Funding

Several thousand teachers wearing red surrounded the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday to call for better pay and more respect from the Republican-dominated state government in a protest that closed more than half of the state’s school districts for the day.

The union-organized rally represented Indiana’s biggest such teacher protest amid a wave of educator activism across the country over the past two years.

Teachers chanted, “Fund our schools,” and “Put kids first,” as hundreds of them lined entrances to the Statehouse, many holding handmade signs with sayings such as, “Less Money on Testing, More Money on Students.” Teachers with marching band instruments played “We’re Not Gonna Take It” from the Statehouse steps.


Indiana Superintendent of the Year Phil Downs

Voucher programs hurting rural school districts like Lakeland, Westview and Prairie Heights

From The News Sun
Downs maintains that his research shows the school voucher program took away nearly $1 million in funding from LaGrange County’s three school systems last year alone, despite the fact that vouchers aren’t being used by local students. Instead, that money is used to fund education for students at private schools in larger metropolitan areas like Indianapolis and Fort Wayne.

Downs said one of the biggest myths about school vouchers is that students use that program to escape failing public schools. The program was touted as giving children and their parents a choice in education. Indiana educates more than 1 million students a year, yet according to the state’s own numbers, only 274 students statewide used the vouchers to leave a failing school system. Lawmakers have changed the original requirements that students needed to have first attended public school to qualify for a voucher. Downs said state statistics show nowadays that 57% of all vouchers used in Indiana fund education for students who have never attended a single day in a public school.

Speaker of the House Bosma Announces Retirement

House Speaker Brian Bosma announces plans to step down at the end of 2020 session

House Speaker Brian Bosma will step down from his position.

Bosma, who’s served in the state legislature since 1986, made the announcement Tuesday. He’ll end his time as Speaker of the House at the end of this session and has no plans to run for re-election. He will move to a “national legislative campaign role.”

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


Monday, November 18, 2019

Another Reason Why I March #RedforEd

NEIFPE member Donna Roof posted this on Facebook.
Another Reason Why I March #RedforEd

Back in 2011, Phyllis Bush and I began to notice that things were changing in public education due to education reform—and not necessarily in good ways for teachers and students. It was at a town hall meeting where Phyllis had her first “Norma Rae moment.” And as the saying goes, the rest is history.

We attended the Save Our Schools March in Washington, D.C. that summer. We became fan girls of Diane Ravitch. We realized that things happening in Indiana were the exact, same things happening in other states, too. We brought back what we had learned there and then organized with like-minded individuals to form Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education (NEIFPE). If someone had told us then that 8 years later the same fight for public education would be going on, we wouldn’t have believed him.

It is amazing to see so many public education advocates coming together to be at the Statehouse on November 19. Phyllis envisioned such a day when public education advocates from across the state would come together to fight against the reformers and the deleterious legislation that has adversely affected public schools, their teachers, their students, and their communities.

Her public education advocacy was known locally, statewide, and nationally. She also served on the Network for Public Education (NPE) Board of Directors. Despite being retired, she worked tirelessly to inform people about what was happening in/to public schools. When she gave a call to action, she led by example by writing letters to the editor, writing to the legislators, testifying at the Statehouse, and helping and encouraging others to get involved in the fight to save public schools.

Phyllis would be proud of this Day of Action, yet she would also understand the difficult decisions public school officials would face and the effects of such decisions on parents and students. She would know that teachers would be conflicted about taking the day or not out of concern for their students. However, she believed so strongly in public schools that she would see the urgency and necessity of having a Day of Action. Like one of her favorite quotations goes: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; in fact, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)

Despite all her worries, she would greatly appreciate all that administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, community members, and students are doing to save public education. Her heart would be filled with pride because she loved teaching.

I am excited to attend this event and see the thousands of people there, yet I have a bit of sadness in knowing she won’t be by my side to experience it, for she passed away on March 19 of this year. However, I know that she will be there in spirit.

November 19 marks 8 months that she has been gone. There will be some of us there wearing a button with her picture to honor her memory and all of her public education advocacy. Over 15,000 people will be there to march on the Statehouse that day! How wonderful is that!

Let’s keep fighting the good fight and keep her legacy alive. It’s the right thing to do for the kids. It’s past time to bring back the joy of learning and teaching!


In Case You Missed It – Nov 18, 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.


‘This is a warning shot’: Indiana’s Red for Ed rally isn’t a strike, but it’s closing schools anyway

Hoosier teachers are sending a warning! Will legislators finally listen?

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana teachers aren’t going on strike, but experts say they are putting lawmakers on notice.

Tuesday’s fast-growing rally is expected to cancel school for half of the state’s students while as many as 12,000 teachers descend on the Statehouse to make a list of demands, including more funding and higher pay.

“This is a warning shot,” said Kenneth Dau-Schmidt, a Carr professor of labor and employment law at Indiana University. “This is a sign of how serious the problem is and how unified the teachers are.”

FWCS to close for Red for Ed Day

Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS), the largest public school district in the state, has decided it will close to allow its teachers to go to the RedforEd March in Indianapolis on November 19.

Fort Wayne Community Schools will close schools on Tuesday – Red for Ed Day – as hundreds of teachers plan to rally in Indianapolis.
FWCS Superintendent, Wendy Robinson included the following in her letter to teachers about Red for Ed Day.

From Wendy Robinson
Beyond Tuesday, I ask you to think about what kind of action you will take to ensure this is not just a one day event. What will you do between Nov. 20, 2019, and Nov. 3, 2020, to create a long-lasting change? The State did not reach this point with public education overnight, and it won’t be fixed in a day. There has been a long, concerted effort to systematically dismantle public education through standardized testing, constantly changing accountability systems and pouring money into private schools. We have been sounding the warnings for years. To change things now will require just as much planning and effort, if not more. True change will only come through legislative action, and that won’t happen if the same people continue to have control of the rule book. While I appreciate your passion for Tuesday’s rally, don’t let it end there.

Holcomb shares teacher concerns, doesn’t criticize closings

Governor Holcomb claims to be waiting for the teacher pay commission to make recommendation on teacher pay...a commission which has no active teachers or school leaders included in its members.

The Republican governor said he was waiting for a teacher pay commission he appointed in February to make recommendations on increasing salaries by the end of 2020.

“We are going to have a gap, still, to fill,” Holcomb said. “That teacher pay commission is what I am going to be paying very close attention to, that menu of options on how to bridge that gap.”

Education advocacy groups estimated this year a 9% funding increase was needed to boost average teacher pay to the midpoint of Indiana’s neighboring states. Republican state schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick has cited a study showing Indiana as the state with the lowest teacher salary increases since 2002.

Indiana education leader tweets about upcoming teachers’ rally

Many school districts in Indiana are using eLearning Days and professional development days to accommodate teachers taking the day off for the Red for Ed March in Indianapolis on November 19. Could that be why state legislators are suddenly interested in how those days are used? "Local control," formerly a Republican talking point, is once again in danger...

From WISHTV.com8
Jennifer McCormick’s tweet read:

“Since Jan. 2017, I have not been asked for data representing IN districts’ local choice surrounding the usage of differing instructional delivery platforms.

“Any idea why policymakers are now asking for data about eLearning Days and sch. cancellation waiver days?”

“Policymakers” appears to refer to state lawmakers and their staff.

Local school districts, not state law, make the rules on how e-learning days are used.

They asked for Red for Ed

Reformers have no problem with private and charter school students taking time off to lobby in Indianapolis...yet when public school teachers take a day to do the same they find it "just horrible."

From The Statehouse File
The reason so many students, parents and teachers are coming to the Statehouse on Nov. 19 is that the reformers gave them no place else to go.

Every move the reformers have made has funneled all the anger and frustration surrounding the state’s schools right back at them.

They might as well have sent an invitation.

Support for teachers benefits all of society

Letter to the Editor from a Fort Wayne parent and public schools advocate.

Printed in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
There are many ways to support public education. If you can't be in Indianapolis to show your support, send your teachers, volunteer to watch their children while they attend, wear red for ed, write your legislators.

You can make a difference. Start by supporting your teachers. I believe our children, our schools and our teachers deserve so much more and you should, too. Educated children are our future.


IPS board approves $31M in raises for teachers, staff

From 13WTHR-TV
The Indianapolis Public Schools Board approved a significant raise for teachers and other district employees at their meeting Tuesday.

In all, the board approved $31.2 million in spending for pay increases as they renewed two-year contracts with the Indianapolis Education Association and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

The money will come from $31 million in the operating referendum approved by voters.

All teachers with performance reviews of satisfactory or better will receive the increase, which will be at least $2,600 a year. The maximum raise in the first year of the teachers' contract will be $9,400 and $4,200 in the second year.

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


Friday, November 15, 2019

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #340 – November 14, 2019

Dear Friends,

News reports say 8000 teachers and public school advocates have registered for the education rally on November 19th in the Statehouse.

That is truly an impressive number.

I have been watching the General Assembly as a public education advocate for 23 years, and 8000 would make this the largest public education rally the Statehouse has ever seen during all those years.

I offer below a reprint of my education budget analysis issued last May. I thought it would be helpful to all interested in the rally to review the details of the education budget passed last April. The following analysis was issued on May 1, 2019 in “Vic’s Statehouse Notes #337,” which provided:
  • a summary of changes in the 2019-2021 budget
  • a comparison of the new tuition support budget with the six previous budgets
  • a listing of three chunks of new money totaling $763 million over two years
  • an analysis of the 70% voucher for private schools costing $19 over two years
  • an analysis of the $31.5 million going to School Scholarships for private school tuition
Informed discussions with legislators about needed additional funding must start with detailed awareness of the current budget. So, here again is the May analysis, putting the current budget in a context of the last 14 years of education spending. I offer it again below for those who are ready to dig into the details to answer the question of why a 2-year education package of $763 million is insufficient for the needs of public schools in Indiana and diverts far too much money to private schools:

Insufficient and Diverting Money to Private Schools: An Analysis of the Current Education Budget – reprinted from Notes #337 dated May 1, 2019

Click here to read Vic's Statehouse Notes #337.


Monday, November 11, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Nov 11, 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 most professions, you steal office supplies from work to bring home. But teachers steal office supplies from home to bring to work.’

Why does Indiana have a budget surplus? One reason is because Indiana teachers supplement the budget by spending an average of $462 of their own money on supplies for their classrooms. Money which should be going to public schools is sitting in the budget surplus...or has been diverted from the public schools to charter schools or private/parochial school vouchers.

Teachers supplement their classrooms with books, paper, pencils, food for children, and even clothes.

Valerie Strauss has collected anecdotes from teachers all over the country who spend money on their own classrooms.

From the Answer Sheet
I’ve been teaching for 20 years as a 5th grade teacher in a Title 1 school. This year, I’m making a change to 7th grade Science. Completely my choice!!

My first year of teaching, I was given $200 to start the year and then multiple opportunities to turn in receipts for reimbursement. However, the following year, the $200 went away and then after that all reimbursements ended.

What I buy that’s not provided by the district:

Colored Pencils
Books (1000s!)
Teacher’s Books for “required texts”
Dry Erase markers
Snacks (for students)
Science materials

Why? Because every child NEEDS these items and because we are a Title 1 school; many cannot afford the necessities. Kids need to have equal supplies; including food. I don’t regret spending this money as I can teach my students when they have all the tools needed to succeed.

Starting 7th grade Science in a week; I know I’m going to be spending money on experiments and I MUST!! How can I not??


The Red for Ed Action Day is about Indiana's treatment of education professionals. It's about school systems hiring under-qualified staff. It's about programs being cut for lack of staff members.

It's not just about teacher salaries.

The programs being cut and the growth of class sizes has an impact on our students. Teachers' working conditions are students' learning conditions.

School systems don’t have enough money and have to beg for more from the citizens in the form of community-dividing referendums. Wealthy communities have enough money to supplement their schools, but communities with the neediest students cannot.

Meanwhile your tax dollars are being wasted on duplicating systems (charter schools and vouchers) that do not accept ALL children. Indiana cannot afford to fund three parallel school systems. Schools should not have to waste scarce resources advertising for students. Competition, which results in winners and losers, does not work in education.

Our money is going down the sinkhole of high stakes testing which does little more than identify the economic conditions in which students live.  The test scores are misused to grade teachers, students, and schools, yet still we spend millions of dollars on these instruments with money we should be using to fully fund the constitutionally mandated public schools.

Our students, teachers, and schools deserve better.

Allen County teachers, school districts to take part in Red for Ed Action Day

From WANE TV, Fort Wayne
On November 19, thousands of Indiana teachers, including some from Allen County, will throw on red clothes and travel to Indianapolis to rally for more resources for teachers and students in the state, on what they call Red for Ed Action Day.

It is not the first time educators have taken to the capitol, but it is the largest demonstration they’ve had to date.

“At this point we have about 6,600 registered and the numbers keep climbing all the time,” said Steve Brace, UniServ Director for the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA). Brace says just a couple of days ago only 2,100 teachers were signed up. At this rate, he expects the number to grow rapidly before the rally.

Over 30 schools in Indiana have decided to close that day so that teachers can attend. Brace said they have gained so much momentum this time around because teachers and administrators alike are more frustrated than ever by issues like testing standards and mandatory externships, which require teachers and administrators to spend 15 hours at an non-school related business in order to renew their teaching license. They are also calling for more funds to be pushed towards education.

Gaining Momentum: GCCS closes for Red for Ed Action Day

From the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Indiana
Higher pay.

Lower class sizes.

More school funding.

Teachers statewide are not backing down from their demands and they plan to be heard by legislators on the Red for Ed Action Day, Nov. 19, at the state capital. As more and more Greater Clark County Schools’ teachers vow to be in attendance, the district made the decision to close schools for the day.

“It is important to understand that the decision to support our teachers to attend this event, rather than being present with our students, is not an easy one,” GCCS Superintendent Mark Laughner said in a message to all parents. “We would much rather be at school teaching our students. However, inadequate funding that impacts class sizes, excessive high stakes standardized testing, teacher shortages and failed accountability models are negatively impacting our students and staff.”

Indianapolis Public Schools cancel classes for 'Red for Ed Action Day'

From RTV6-Indianapolis
Indianapolis Public Schools is canceling classes later this month for teachers attending "Red for Ed Action Day."

On Nov. 19, teachers and other staff members who plan to participate in the legislative action day won't need to request a personal day, according to a press release from the district.

Dozens of Indiana districts cancel classes for teachers to rally for higher pay

From Chalkbeat*
So many teachers asked to take Nov. 19 off to rally at the Statehouse for higher pay that nearly 30 districts across Indiana have canceled school or scheduled e-learning days.

“We’re going to support our teachers,” said Beech Grove Superintendent Paul Kaiser, who plans to join teachers at the rally that day while students work online from home. “I think it’s important for our leaders and decision-makers to understand that this is a crisis in the state of Indiana.”

The Indiana State Teachers Association and the American Federation of Teachers Indiana both plan to show up in force at the Statehouse on the ceremonial opening day of the legislative session. The unions want to urge lawmakers to find ways to increase teacher pay soon, although it remains to be seen whether legislators will be willing to act when the state’s budget is already set for two years.

Indianapolis Public Schools announced Wednesday that it will cancel classes on Nov. 19 to allow teachers to participate. South Bend, the state’s fifth-largest school district, and Wayne Township in Indianapolis are also among the districts that have canceled school entirely.

South Bend schools to close Nov. 19 for Red For Ed Action Day

From the South Bend Tribune
All South Bend district schools will be closed Nov. 19 to show local teachers support as part of Red For Ed Action Day.

Superintendent Todd Cummings made the announcement during Monday's school board meeting.

Local educators, parents and community members will join the Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA) at the Statehouse in Indianapolis to encourage state legislators to boost funding of teacher salaries and to promote education. Nov. 19 is the General Assembly’s organization day.

"We want teachers to support themselves and we want to continue to support them as they advocate for themselves," Cummings said. "We want to provide our teachers and staff with the opportunity to exercise their rights and take this day to advocate for public education and for their students."

Cummings said the district "fully supports feeding our students" and will still plan on supplying meals for those who may need them even with the schools closed.


Indiana is known for its K-12 voucher program. But pre-K vouchers are often left out of the conversation.

Vouchers in the K-12 system ARE an economic drain on our public school systems and they promote discrimination and segregation. We should not be wasting our tax dollars on them. Despite the legislative love for them, those are facts. However, vouchers for pre-school are a more complicated issue because of strongly held beliefs about who is primarily responsible for a pre-schooler’s education. The rub here is that if it’s the parents’ responsibility, then why would the state pay for any of it? On the other hand, many believe that the foundational skills that a child learns as a pre-schooler contribute to the child’s well-being which contributes to the public good. And in that case, do we need to think about making pre-school mandatory and regulating it as we would other public services?

From Chalkbeat*
School choice advocates wield heavy influence in Indiana, but not all of them have fully thrown their weight behind the state’s newest voucher program: pre-K.

Both of Indiana’s voucher programs were born from the same idea of educational choice, which allows low-income families to use public money to choose the best school for their children, regardless of whether it’s public or private.

But the preschool program, On My Way Pre-K, doesn’t enjoy the same kind of support among Indiana conservatives as its K-12 counterpart. That reality speaks to widespread attitudes toward preschool — that it’s the purview of the family, not the government.


South Bend schools get $5.5 million to recruit teachers and partner with IUSB

From the South Bend Tribune
The South Bend Community School Corp. received a $5.5 million federal grant to help the district educate, recruit and retain teachers.

Qualified students will earn their bachelor’s degrees from Indiana University South Bend and have their master’s degrees paid for in exchange for a three-year commitment to teach in South Bend schools.

The grant is for five years and addresses a need to recruit and retain elementary, middle, high school and special education teachers in South Bend.


LeBron James paid for a public school in his hometown. Now he’s building transitional housing for at-risk students there.

The I Promise team realized kids can't learn if they don't have stable housing.

From the Answer Sheet
Last year, basketball superstar LeBron James underwrote a new public school in an Akron, Ohio, school district, designed to provide academics as well as social and emotional supports to at-risk students. Now he’s adding to that investment, partnering with a hotel chain to build transitional housing for families whose children attend the I Promise school but are experiencing homelessness or struggle to have stable, safe housing.

The LeBron James Family Foundation made the announcement Monday along with Graduate Hotels, saying that the housing will be located within a few blocks of the school in a building that will be renovated and furnished.

In making the announcement, the foundation issued a release that quoted James as saying he and others involved in the I Promise school have come to realize that students need stable housing to learn.


Did Indianapolis students do better after struggling schools were restarted? A new study takes a look.

"Overall, innovation restart schools continue to post some of the lowest passing rates in the district."

From Chalkbeat*
Indianapolis Public Schools will soon have to review the performance of its first innovation schools, which launched in 2015. Next year, district officials will evaluate Phalen’s progress at School 103 in deciding whether to renew the innovation contract.

Innovation advocates have taken test score growth as a promising sign of improvement, though School 103 struggled significantly this year as passing rates tumbled across the state on the new ILEARN exam. Overall, innovation restart schools continue to post some of the lowest passing rates in the district.

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


Monday, November 4, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Nov 4, 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.


NAEP scores were released last week. Here are four articles about the results.

NAEP Test Scores Show How Stupid We Are… To Pay Attention to NAEP Test Scores

Testing measures economic status.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
Brace yourselves!

America’s NAEP test scores in 2019 stayed pretty much the same as they were in 2018!

And the media typically set its collective hair on fire trying to interpret the data.

Sometimes called the Nations Report Card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test is given to a random sampling of elementary, middle and high school students in member countries to compare the education systems of nations.

And this year there was one particular area where US kids did worse than usual!

Our scores went down in 8th grade reading!

To be honest, scores usually go up or down by about one or two points every year averaging out to about the same range.

But this year! Gulp! They went down four points!


What does that mean?

Absolutely nothing.

They’re standardized test scores. They’re terrible assessments of student learning.

Indiana NAEP results show widening gap in reading

NAEP scores reflect a growing divide between affluent and poor people in Indiana...and across the U.S.

From School Matters
“The most disturbing pattern we see in the 2019 NAEP results is that both fourth- and eighth-grade reading scores decreased most among our lowest performing students,” Indiana University professor Sarah Theule Lubienski said by email. “For example, while reading scores slipped just 1 point for students scoring among the top 10%, they fell 3-6 points among those scoring within the bottom 10%.”

That’s nationwide, and the fall-off among lowest-performing test-takers was even more pronounced in Indiana. Reading scores for the bottom 10% of Indiana eighth-graders fell by 14 points. Reading scores for the bottom 10% of fourth-graders fell by 9 points. Results for highest-scoring test-takers were stable.

‘Nation’s report card’ tells a similar story to ILEARN — most Indiana students are behind

Indiana Chalkbeat should be absolutely ashamed of this headline. It is misleading, and it demonstrates a very poor understand of the NAEP scores and what they mean. Comparing the ILEARN tests and scores to NAEP scores ignores the true picture of students in Indiana schools.

From Chalkbeat*
Amid concerns over low scores on Indiana’s new standardized test, ILEARN, new results from a national exam tell a similar story about student performance.

Scores from the National Assessment Educational Progress, or NAEP, released Wednesday, showed 37% of eighth graders statewide were proficient in reading and math, and 37% of fourth graders were proficient in reading and 47% were proficient in math.

NAEP 2019 Released: No Progress in Math, Reading

NAEP scores should encourage us to invest in public education.

From Diane Ravitch
After a generation of disruptive reforms—No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, VAM and Common Core—after a decade or more of disinvestment in education, after years of bashing and demoralizing teachers, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for 2019 shows the results:

Over the past decade, there has been no progress in either mathematics or reading performance, and the lowest-performing students are doing worse,” said Peggy Carr, the associate commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which administers the NAEP. “In fact, over the long term in reading, the lowest-performing students—those readers who struggle the most—have made no progress from the first NAEP administration almost 30 years ago.”



The Indiana Public Retirement System (INPRS) board voted last week to increase the monthly administrative fee for PERF and TRF members’ Defined Contribution (DC) plans from $3 to $3.75. The increase is based on higher management costs for the DC plan than original INPRS estimates accounted for the previous year. Fees cover record keeping and required Internal Revenue Service administrative oversight.

Retirees will not be affected, only members with active accounts.


KIPP, IDEA Corporate Charter Chains Criticize Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Cut Their Federal Funding

From Diane Ravitch
In her education plan, Elizabeth Warren proposed eliminating the federal Charter Schools Program. This program was started in 1994 to help jumpstart new charter schools at a time when there were fewer than 100 charter schools in the nation. Now there are 7,000.

Today, the CSP has a budget of $440 million a year (which BETSY DeVos proposes to increase to $500 million a year). DeVos uses CSP as her personal slush fund to expand corporate charter chains. This past year, she gave $89 million to KIPP, $67 million to IDEA, and $10 million to Success Academy. None of these charter chains are struggling financially. All receive huge grants from the Waltons and other billionaires.

The Network for Public Education studied the expenditure of $4 billion by CSP from 2006-2014, predating the DeVos era. It’s report “Asleep at the Wheel,” determined that at least $1 billion of the funds spent by CSP during that period were wasted on charter schools that either never opened or closed soon after opening. Warren cited this report in her education plan, to justify eliminating the wasteful CSP.


The Walton Family: Ungrateful Graduates of Public Schools

Every dollar you spend at Walmart is a dollar spent against public education.

From Diane Ravitch
No philanthropy has spent more money to undermine and privatize public schools than the Waltons. The Waltons are the richest family in the U.S., possibly in the world, with a net worth in excess of $200 billion.

The Walton Family Foundation claims credit for launching at least one of every four charter schools in the nation. The foundation aims to eliminate public education, crush teachers’ unions, and destroy the teaching profession. The foundation has given nearly $100 million to Teach for America to supply inexperienced, ill-trained teachers to public and charter schools.


Michael Hicks: Education policies to blame for employment drop

From the Star Press, Muncie, IN
Since the third quarter of 2007, when the economy was booming, Indiana’s workforce down-skilled profoundly. We’ve seen 31 percent growth in workers with less than a high school diploma, nearly no change among those with high school diploma and under 5.0 percent growth among those who have been to college or have an Associate’s degree. The simple fact is from third quarter 2007 to third quarter 2018, a whopping 55 percent of new workers had less than a high school diploma.

I believe much of this is attributable to education policies that focus on supplying our economy with workers instead of citizens. While this might have pleased a few important political donors, it remains deeply misguided. I call it the Mississippi strategy, because it pushes Indiana into the bottom tier of educational attainment. And from the looks of it, it is doing just that.


NACS approves teacher raises

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
The Northwest Allen County Schools board Monday approved a two-year contract that includes raises for teachers.

The collective bargaining agreement presented at a meeting two weeks ago covers this year and expires in 2021. Board members Kent Somers, Liz Hathaway, Ronald Felger, Steve Bartkus and Kristi Schlatter voted unanimously to approve the contract.

“I thought it was a very thoughtful process,” Somers said, referring to negotiations with the Northwest Allen County Educators Association, which represents more than 400 teachers.

Under the contract, minimum base salaries for full-time teachers increase $1,250 to $41,250. The agreement includes $64,000 base salaries for teachers with bachelor's degrees and $70,125 for those with master's degrees.


Several NEIFPE members will be among those taking action on November 19 in Indianapolis.

Shane Phipps column: Sea of red coming to statehouse

From the The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, IN
Downtown Indianapolis will be a sea of red on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

Thousands of teachers from across the Hoosier State are expected to assemble around the Statehouse that day in a show of solidarity for the Red for Ed movement. This growing movement has been gaining steam for months. Many teachers have been wearing red to school each Wednesday in a show of silent unity.

At the center of the issue is teacher pay. Due to the fact that many thousands of educators across the state have gone years and years without a proper pay raise — or none at all — Indiana teachers (particularly the younger ones) have had a hard time keeping up with the cost of living.

Indiana has fallen into the bottom third in the nation in total teacher compensation. I know a lot of young teachers — and an ever-increasing number of older ones — who’ve had to take on second jobs just to pay the bills. That doesn’t seem fair in a profession that requires at least a bachelor’s degree (most teachers have at least one master’s degree). All that schooling comes at a cost. Most teachers start out in a huge financial hole, carrying student loan debts in the high five figures into the six-figure range. I’ve taught for 19 years and, while I make a comfortable living, I am still paying off student loans — that’s a fact.
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*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.