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.


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