Monday, February 17, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Feb 17, 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.

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.



NEIFPE Year in Review, 2019
Check out NEIFPE's Year in Review for 2019. This was a difficult task for NEIPFE members to create due to the loss of our hero, Phyllis Bush. Please check out the special tribute to her on pages 2-4.


In a damning audit, Indiana calls on two virtual schools to repay $85 million in misspent state funds

Charter schools and voucher receiving schools in Indiana benefit from public funding. They need public oversight, just like public schools. Our legislators laid the groundwork for this fraud.

From Chalkbeat* Indiana
In what has become one of the nation’s largest virtual charter school scandals, Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy officials showed “substantial disregard” for following the rules and may have “focused on maximizing profits and revenues by exploiting perceived vulnerabilities” in local oversight and state funding processes, the report said.


Bill and Melinda Gates have spent billions to shape education policy. Now, they say, they’re ‘skeptical’ of ‘billionaires’ trying to do just that.

From the Answer Sheet
You won’t believe what Bill and Melinda Gates are saying makes them “skeptical.”

For years, they have spent a fortune trying to shape public education policy, successfully leveraging public funding to support their projects, but never having the kind of academic success they had hoped for. That never stopped them from continuing to fund pet projects.

Now, in the newly released 2020 annual letter of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates says that lack of success is no reason to “give up,” and then, she says this:

We certainly understand why many people are skeptical about the idea of billionaire philanthropists designing classroom innovations or setting education policy. Frankly, we are, too. Bill and I have always been clear that our role isn’t to generate ideas ourselves; it’s to support innovation driven by people who have spent their careers working in education: teachers, administrators, researchers, and community leaders.


What Charter Advocates Want From States

Charter advocates really like Indiana because our legislators have been helping them take over local and community control for years. We must elect legislators who understand that community public schools need to be supported.

Perhaps Indiana's #1 ranking is why virtual charters were able to steal $85 million from our students.

From Curmudgucation
What exactly would charter proponents like to see in state charter regulations? As it turns out, we don't have to guess, because the National Alliance of Public [sic] Charter Schools regularly publishes a ranking of the states based on the "strength" of their charter laws. This year's edition is the 11th, and it's available right now! Woot!

If you are concerned about the rankings, I can give you some highlights. Indiana, Colorado and Washington come in at spots 1, 2 and 3. Florida (State motto: "Making sure there is no public school system for Certain People's grandchildren") is down at 7. Maryland, Kansas, and Alaska are at the bottom. Five states are not on the list at all--no charter laws. There are some other surprises, like Ohio at a measly 23.

Teachers and friends of Public Education rally at the Indiana State
House on November 19, 2019. Governor Holcomb did not attend.


No funding action after big Indiana teacher protest

Legislators complained that Indiana teachers didn't follow through with lobbying and letters. On the other hand, teachers might find it hard to lobby and write letters during their 50-hour work week.

Meanwhile, Governor Holcomb, who couldn't be bothered to attend the rally and respond to teachers, took time out of his busy schedule to speak to supporters of vouchers and charter schools for "school choice week."

Several thousand teachers at a boisterous Statehouse rally put complaints about their treatment in front of Indiana lawmakers as this year’s legislative session started.

But those chants for improved school funding didn’t result in additional money as Republican lawmakers pushed through this year’s only planned spending bill even before the session reached its midpoint this past week.


Trump Lied About Philly Student in “Failing Government School”

From Diane Ravitch
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Trump singled out a child from Philadelphia who, he said, was “trapped in a failing government school.” In fact, the child attends one of the city’s most elite charter schools. Didn’t Betsy DeVos realize she had given $1.3 million to the self-same charter school in 2019?

President Donald Trump turned a Philadelphia fourth grader into a poster child for the school-choice movement Tuesday when he told the nation that thousands of students were “trapped in failing government schools” and announced that the girl was at last getting a scholarship to attend the school of her choice.

But Janiyah Davis already attends one of the city’s most sought-after charter schools, The Inquirer has learned. In September, months before she was an honored guest at Trump’s State of the Union address, she entered Math, Science and Technology Community Charter School III.

*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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