Monday, December 9, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 9, 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.


MAYOR PETE ON EDUCATION

Buttigieg's Education Plan Released

Pete Buttigieg releases $1 trillion-plus plan for early-childhood and K-12 education

First a comment from Facebook about this article from Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer of ICPE...
I, along with several public school teachers, administrators, & supporters, met with Mayor Pete's husband on Friday to discuss public education just before this came out. First of all, I am glad that Democrats are (finally) moving in the right direction when it comes to education policy--something that was never discussed when this attack began. I am glad for much of Buttigieg's platform here (like early childhood). BUT (yes, there's a but):

1) It's easy to say you will fund things but without a plan (and taxing the uber-wealthy billionaires who keep meddling in public education--like Reed Hastings, privatizer/enemy of public ed who held a big fundraiser in July for Pete's campaign, would be reassuring to me. I worry about the company he keeps. )

2) He is not joining the national NAACP, nor Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, with a moratorium on federal funding of charter schools. This is hugely problematic. You cannot say you are helping fund equity all the while funding charter schools (which are NOT public schools--they are PRIVATELY run and not accountable to the public thru a publicly elected board!) which take away engaged families and funding from public schools. You cannot support a competition for resources while saying you care about equity.

3) Saying you will ban "for profit" charter schools shows a lack of understanding on how charter schools profit off of our most vulnerable children and the tax dollars siphoned away from public schools.

"The more than $1 trillion in Buttigieg’s plan would be spent over 10 years and would come from “greater tax enforcement” on the wealthy and corporations, according to a Buttigieg campaign spokesperson, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He would not impose a new tax on the super-rich, said the spokesperson, who did not detail how much money the mayor believes he can realize from uncollected taxes."
From the Answer Sheet
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is unveiling a broad new education plan on Saturday that pledges to spend $700 billion over a decade to create a high-quality child care and preschool system that he said would reach all children from birth to age 5 and create 1 million jobs.

The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., also promised to spend $425 billion to strengthen America’s K-12 public schools, targeting federal investments and policy to help historically marginalized students. He would boost funding for schools in high-poverty areas as well as for students with disabilities, and promote voluntary school integration. And he said he would ensure that all charter schools — which are publicly funded but privately operated — undergo the same accountability measures as schools in publicly funded districts.

With Buttigieg rising in some polls in the early state races for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, new scrutiny is being given to his proposals and his efforts to win over African American voters, who constitute a key part of the party’s base but who have not largely warmed to his campaign.

His newly released education plan shows that Buttigieg, like the other Democratic candidates, would move the country’s federal education policy away from that of the Trump administration. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has put her focus not on the traditional public school districts that enroll the vast majority of American schoolchildren, but on expanding alternatives to them, such as charter schools and programs that use federal funding for private and religious school tuition.

Mayor Pete on Education in South Bend

From Diane Ravitch

The following two articles go together. In the first, Diane Ravitch shared a blog post from Fred Klonsky in which he takes Democratic Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg to task for being slow to discover that South Bend Schools are segregated.

In the second article below, Diane Ravitch issues an apology to Buttigieg on the basis of a response by some South Bend readers who explain in more detail how the city schools have been working to keep their schools integrated. Be sure to read both.

Fred Klonsky: Pete Buttigieg Discovers Segregated Schools in His Hometown
Fred Klonsky writes with amazement that Mayor Pete Buttigieg just realized that there are segregated schools in his hometown of South Bend.

He acknowledges that he was slow to come to this realization.

CORRECTION: An Apology to Pete Buttigieg and the Racially Integrated Public Schools of South Bend, Indiana
Several readers of this blog who live in South Bend, Indiana, wrote to say that Fred Klonsky is wrong about Pete Buttigieg and the status of racial integration in the public schools of South Bend.

One native of South Bend wrote as follows.

Fred Klonsky’s article is simplistic and wildly inaccurate and Mr. Buttigieg’s statement about “school districts” is absolutely correct.

First, South Bend Community School Corporation is under a desegregation consent decree, and for many years, almost all of its schools have had black student enrollments within plus-or-minus 15 percentage points of the district-wide average. That is a common, court-accepted standard for a racially integrated school.

Second, South Bend is a diverse school district, with overall enrollment around 35% black, 10-15% Hispanic and about 50% non-Hispanic white. In contrast, suburban Penn Harris Madison school district is more than 90% non-Hispanic white. So, that is the context of Mayor Pete’s context.


ALEC LOSES THIS ONE IN COURT

Justin Parmenter: NC Software Giant Pays to Send State Legislators to ALEC Meetings

From Diane Ravitch
NBCT high school teacher and blogger Justin Parmenter discovered a shocking fact: a company in the state called SAS pays to send state legislators to the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a far-right anti-public school organization that writes model legislation. SAS sells software to districts and states to evaluate teacher effectiveness. The SAS software is very controversial because it’s algorithms are secret and proprietary. Teachers in Houston sued and won a court judgement against SAS, when the judge ruled that its secret processes were arbitrary and denied due process to teachers, who had no way to know how they were judged or if the calculations were accurate.

INDIANA TEACHERS -- STILL NO RAISE

Pay raise touted for educators: But no action to be taken in 2020 session, Holcomb says

Note...there are no teachers on the seven member teacher pay commission. There are education professionals on the non-voting committee which advises the panel.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he wants Indiana teachers to have salaries in the top three in the Midwest. But not any time soon.

“It's dollars and cents. I want to adequately and fairly compensate our teachers but I also want to steal some teachers from other states,” he said during an annual Legislative Conference hosted by Bingham Greenebaum Doll.

He said a teacher pay commission that is currently working on recommendations could have a report on how to fill the gap in the spring – after legislators have ended their session. Discussion could begin then for crafting the next two-year budget in 2021.

This is despite thousands of teachers coming to the Statehouse several weeks ago to fight for a number of initiatives.


Did the Red for Ed rally affect the governor’s upcoming agenda?

From Fort Wayne's NBC
As for education, and that massive Red for Ed rally last month that featured about 14,000 teachers and supporters on the lawn of the statehouse?

"What does that say to you, that so many that gathered supported that one cause? Well it underscores what we know and that is education is a priority at every level," Holcomb says.

The son of a public school teacher, Holcomb says he doesn't want teachers to leave schools for jobs in the private sector, even though he says the state already spends more than half of its total revenue on education -- which is why he says he set up the teacher pay commission to study the issue and make recommendations.

"I understand about the salaries, but what about issues that the legislature has imposed like additional hours for continuing education? Or tying student performance to how much money is allocated for schools or teachers?Those are some burdens as teachers would call it. I think they're tired of lip service and they want to see some action," Corinne Rose says.

"They're going to see some action. They're going to see some action, and you'll hear some recommendations from me incorporated into my agenda that I'll release next week. They've not only been heard, they'll be acted on," Holcomb replies.

SHADES OF TONY BENNETT

IPS finds a powerful charter ally in its 11th hour bid to win back takeover schools

Will IPS schools, getting out of the bad deal with the shady Charters USA, now team up with Christel House- the bunch that Tony Bennett changed the grades for?

From Chalkbeat*
Indianapolis Public Schools has a powerful new ally in its last-minute campaign to win back control of three schools taken over by the state — and prevent a Florida-based charter manager from running the schools indefinitely.

Christel House Academy, a politically influential Indianapolis charter network, wants to relocate its southside school to Manual High School if oversight of that campus is returned to the district, IPS and Christel House officials told Chalkbeat Tuesday. Christel House would take over the campus through an innovation partnership, allowing the network to manage the school while the district monitors performance and gets credit for its enrollment and academic results.


DEFENDING DISCRIMINATION

Trump Administration Defends Christian School That Discriminates Against LGBT Students and Teachers

From Diane Ravitch
Politico Morning Education reports that the Trump administration has joined a court case on the side of a Christian school in Maryland that was removed from the state’s voucher program because it discriminates against LGBT students and teachers.

This is not surprising. The DeVos family has funded anti-gay organizations and state referenda for many years. The Trump administration takes the view that if religious organizations discriminate, that is no one’s business, even though they are receiving public funds.

*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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Monday, December 2, 2019

In Case You Missed It – Dec 2, 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.


WHO'S RESPONSIBLE?

Teachers Are Not Responsible for Student Growth or Achievement

While teachers are the most important in-school variable for student success in school, a variety of out-of-school factors can have a much greater impact on student achievement. Legislators should look at their role in those out of school factors.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
It doesn’t make that much difference whether you look at growth or achievement. If you’re holding teachers accountable for either, you’re expecting us to be able to do things beyond our powers as mere mortal human beings.

I hate to break it to you, but teachers are not magical.

We cannot MAKE things happen in student brains.

Nothing we say or do can cause a specific reaction inside a human mind.

That’s just not how learning and teaching works.

We can INFLUENCE learning.

We can try to create some kind of optimum condition that is most likely to spark learning.

But we cannot make it happen like turning on a switch or lighting a candle.


TRADING "FAILING" PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR "FAILING" CHARTER SCHOOLS

Charter Schools USA finds support for charter applications as critics stay silent at public hearing

What IPS has done in the past (pairing up with charters/innovation) has come around to haunt them, and now these parents trust IPS even less than they trust a failing charter company. Very sad.

From Chalkbeat*
Howe, Manual, and Emma Donnan Middle School are expected to exit state takeover at the end of this school year. With that transition about six months away, the futures of the schools are still in limbo.

Monday’s hearing focused on whether the state charter board should grant approval for the schools to continue under the management of a group tied to Charter Schools USA, which would essentially cement their separation from Indianapolis Public Schools. The state charter board is expected to vote on the matter at a December 13 meeting.


NEW ORLEANS: THE COMPLETE CHARTER DISTRICT

New Orleans: Parents and Students at Two Low-Performing Charter Schools Fight to Keep Them Open

From Diane Ravitch
The subtext of this is that there a few charters that began early on that were controlled by black former OPSB teachers and administrators that were islands of local control (MLK in particular) in a white-dominated, outsider controlled charter system. These schools have struggled in part because they would not cherry-pick and force out challenging students (Treme in particular) and have always been resented by the NSNO (New Schools for New Orleans) people. They have also moved toward unionizing lately.

But it is a good example of how some charters build their own constituencies, even if they are failing, because they are perceived as more locally and black controlled. I imagine the school board will give them a pass just to avoid the conflict.

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).

MORE ON INDIANA'S #RED FOR ED RALLY

Teachers' rally exceeds expectations

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Vicky Lomont, a former FWCS teacher who is now an EACS instructor, sat not far from Thiele. Lomont said she is frustrated with lawmakers, who for years have supported voucher systems while neglecting traditional public schools.

“I would like to see my representative listen to me, rather than his party,” Lomont said.

At the rally, Kathleen Cagle, a math teacher at New Tech Academy at Wayne High School, said testing has become an omnipresent force in schools.

“Every year, we're asked to do more and more and more, and none of it is to help the students,” she said.

NACS teacher Kristen Bowland arrived at the Capitol building around 8:30 a.m. Nov. 19.

“We felt like we were part of history,” she said. “It's worth the fight. I'm doing it for our kids.”


Red for Ed rallying cry: Kids deserve more

The last elected Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction reminds us that we need to support our public schools through the ballot box. Every time you vote for the governor, a state representative, or a state senator you're voting on school issues. Support public education!

From Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Kids deserve educators who take a stand against Indiana's disconnected education policy and the issue of inadequate funding. While many, including myself, have been champions for public education for decades, it took a red wave crashing into the Statehouse to finally catch the attention of the lawmakers inside. Frustrations regarding funding inequities, compensation shortfalls and policies void of practitioner input were vocalized by constituents from all 92 counties.

*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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Sunday, December 1, 2019

Lawmakers receive an education

This letter to the editor by NEIFPE co-founder Terry Springer appeared in the December 1, 2019 edition of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette.

Lawmakers receive an education
The Nov. 19 Red for Ed Rally was an inspiring day. Motivated teachers, parents, administrators, retired teachers and students donned red and gathered at the Statehouse to express their frustration over the conditions the legislature has imposed on them and the children of Indiana.

To be clear to those who think teachers should not have left their classrooms and districts should not have closed, this rally has been a long time coming. It has taken nearly 10 years for the legislation inspired during Mitch Daniels' administration and enhanced during Mike Pence's and now Eric Holcomb's to create the conditions that finally led teachers to say enough is enough. Most teachers would rather be in class with their kids than standing outside for hours on a chilly November day.

Teachers don't rally and protest at the drop of a hat. It has taken nearly 10 years of the punitive system developed by the legislature to push teachers to the point that they pushed back. It has taken nearly 10 years for parents and the community to understand the destructive impact on their public schools and the negative impact on their children.

Public schools are struggling to provide the best education for all children. No matter how the governor and legislators extol the “historic” funding for education in Indiana in the latest budget, the spin does not accurately reflect how little relief it provides to replace the dollars communities around the state are losing because of vouchers or the millions spent on ineffective and harmful testing.

The conditions that inspired Red for Ed won't change unless we take action – everyone who went to Indianapolis, everyone who demonstrated in Fort Wayne, everyone who participated in a walk-in at a school, everyone who wore red on Tuesday in support of teachers and schools must keep the legislators' focus on education in Indiana.

We need to get informed and educate our legislators about the consequences of their lawmaking.

Terry Springer

Fort Wayne
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