Monday, January 27, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Jan 27, 2020

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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Letters: Pay is just one way teachers are devalued

Teachers in Indiana, like others around the country, want to have decent salaries, but they also want the respect they deserve for the job they do. When beginning teachers, who spent at least four years preparing for their profession, and are likely burdened with college debt, are offered salaries which qualify their own children for the poverty level federal school lunch program for children, they they are being disrespected as well as underpaid.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Letters to the Editor
Indiana expects...teachers to educate students to the highest standards while denying the financial benefits of professional achievement to our teachers and their own children. Indiana legislators and governors past and present have talked about improving schools by helping teachers and improving salaries – nothing but promises, empty and delayed, at least for the past 44 years.

We need bright, multitalented individuals to take on the diverse challenges of teaching, but as a state and culture, through low salaries, social and political attacks on the profession, and continued erosion of public school funding by privatization, we do little to incentivize talented young people to consider the profession. As a state, we need to reevaluate our priorities and take action to improve public schools by respecting teaching as a profession and teachers as skilled professionals.


How shifting political tides ended Indiana’s ambitious school takeover effort

The entire education "reform" movement has been built on the false narrative of "failing schools." In truth, society has failed the poorest and most at-risk students in our schools. Public education cannot solve the problems of racism and poverty alone. Public education is not responsible for the problems of racism and poverty. Legislators and policy-makers must accept their share of responsibility.

Out of another frying pan and into yet another fire? The failures of the Daniels-Pence administrations come to an end, but now IPS will subject their returned schools/children to the “Innovation model.” We’ll see how that “charter by another name” experiment works out.

From Chalkbeat*
When Indiana leaders took over five failing schools nearly a decade ago, the decision was an act of desperation. The campuses were languishing: Fights frequently broke out in the hallways and students spent class time filling out McDonald’s job applications.

But it was also ambitious, a sign that Indiana education officials would aggressively push districts to improve schools that had long failed to meet state expectations and would even seize control of campuses that didn’t improve test scores and graduation rates.


The United States Supreme Court is considering a school voucher case which could have far-reaching implications for public education in the U.S. Should states give tax dollars to schools which discriminate for religious reasons? Should your tax dollars go to a schools that teaches that your religion is somehow less than theirs? Should public funds support schools which play by a different set of accountability rules? Should your children of a minority religion -- or of no religion -- be subjected to a state sponsored prayer in school?

Here are three articles dealing with public school church-state issues.

Who Will Protect My Right NOT to Pay for Your Child’s Religious Education?

Blogger Steven Singer was subjected to anti-semitic stereotypes as a child. Should his tax dollars support schools which perpetuate those beliefs?

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
If successful, the case would open the door to publicly-funded private religious education across the country – not to mention siphoning much-needed money away from the public schools.

It’s bad enough that kids learn prejudicial lies from the pulpit and parochial schools. It’s worse if the victims of such prejudice have to pay for their tormentors to be thus indoctrinated.

In the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom of 1779, Thomas Jefferson wrote “to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical...”

Bill to ban school voucher discrimination should be heard

Senate Bill 250 sponsored by State Sen. JD Ford (D-Indianapolis) would prevent schools using taxpayer funds to discriminate against children of Indiana taxpayers.

From School Matters
...some voucher-funded Christian schools condemn homosexuality and require families and employees to sign “statements of faith.” Some voucher schools do not serve students with disabilities.

SB 250 would bar state voucher funding for schools that discriminate by disability, race, color, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, religion, or ancestry. (Current law prohibits discrimination by race, color or national origin).

At a news conference to promote the bill, Ford was joined by Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick and Dominic Conover, a 2019 Roncalli High School graduate who said school officials warned him to be silent after he organized support for the school’s counselors.

McCormick said it’s contrary to Hoosier hospitality for the state to fund schools that turn away students and staff because of who they are and whom they love.

School Prayer Isn’t in Question, but Wednesday, Supreme Court Will Hear Important Church-State Separation Case

From Jan Resseger
President Donald Trump made a splash last week pretending that students’ right to pray at school has been threatened. While this subject may appeal to his base, the law is settled on this matter...

Although prayer in school is not really at issue this week, another controversy involving religion and public education will reach the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices will hear oral arguments on Wednesday in an important case involving the First Amendment’s protection of the separation of church and state. The subject is the long fight over the First Amendment’s prohibition of “establishing” religion, in this case by using public tax dollars to pay for religious schools.

*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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