Monday, February 3, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Feb 3, 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.



Schools Lost $4 Billion After Decade of Cuts, Diversions

Like Indiana, the Wisconsin legislature has yet to fund public education at pre-recession levels. And, like Indiana, public money has been diverted to privatization.

From Up North News
By the conclusion of 2021, the state of Wisconsin will have invested $3.9 billion less in its public schools than if education funding had remained at 2011 levels, according to a new analysis of state funding.

That is according to a report released Wednesday by the Wisconsin Budget Project, a Madison-based organization that analyzes state budget and tax issues.

In compiling the report, the organization traced a decades’ worth of budget decisions enacted by the GOP-controlled Legislature that resulted in record cuts to public education.

In short, the report found many state lawmakers have deemed tax cuts more important than supporting Wisconsin’s 400-plus public school districts.

The loss in public education dollars was accomplished by diverting millions toward the expansion of the private voucher school program, offering tax cuts primarily aimed at the wealthiest households and wiping out business taxes in manufacturing agriculture, according to the report.


TIME Magazine: How the “Reform” Movement Has Failed America

From Diane Ravitch
Piling on tests and punishments for students and teachers and closing schools doesn’t solve any problems, and it certainly doesn’t improve education.

The article gives a much abbreviated history of “reform” from George W. Bush to Barack Obama to Betsy DeVos. Testing and choice, they assumed, would fix all the problems.

Not true.

For almost twenty years, the Bush-Obama-Trump program of standardized testing, punitive accountability, and school choice has been the reform strategy. It has utterly failed.


South Bend superintendent moves to end negotiations with Purdue charter school

From the South Bend Tribune
A potential partnership between South Bend schools and a charter school network appears to be off the table.

According to the agenda for Monday’s South Bend school board meeting, the board will vote on a recommendation by Superintendent Todd Cummings to “terminate efforts” to negotiate an agreement with Purdue Polytechnic High School South Bend for next school year...

Linda Wolfson, vice president of the Community Forum for Economic Justice, is one opponent. She has called for the school district to strengthen its own science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) magnet programs, namely the one at Riley High School.

“There seems to be a consistent effort to destroy public education,” Wolfson said at a community meeting, “not to provide an alternative.”


Homeless students on rise in US: Study: FWCS has 685; EACS, 131; both let kids stay in school

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
A record-high 1.5 million public school students nationwide experienced homelessness in the 2017-18 academic year, and 74% of those lived with other people for lack of alternatives, according to federal data the National Center for Homeless Education released Wednesday.

Indiana's homeless student population for that year was 18,625, up by 4.3% from the 2015-16 school year, the center reported...

Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools are among the districts serving homeless students. The districts serve about 30,000 and 10,000 total students, respectively.

The homeless population has steadily grown at FWCS, which had 367 such students in 2013-14 and 951 in 2018-19. This year's count is at 685 as of Jan. 1, the district reported.

“A lot of people are surprised by the number of homeless students we serve,” FWCS spokeswoman Krista Stockman said.

At EACS, the homeless population this academic year as of Thursday was 131, and the majority are students whose family is or was living with others for economic reasons, said Michelle Wenglikowski, director of student services.


Parents, teachers speak out against restarting School 67 as an IPS innovation school

Why does IPS want to go against the will of the parents and the community? Why not provide this school and staff with the resources they need instead of forcing “innovation” on them. This school is not failing. IPS is failing it.

From Chalkbeat*
Through tears, parent Christina Brown asked the board not to change School 67, which is also known as Stephen Foster.

“That whole staff is a family. They love the parents. They are so welcoming. They are so helpful,” said Brown, who has four children at School 67. “Keep that building. Keep that family.”

None of the board members addressed the comments or spoke about the school. Johnson declined to comment on the recommendation before it is officially presented to the board Thursday.


Trump Picks DeVos as Surrogate for His Campaign

Public school hater, Betsy DeVos will be on the campaign trail this year. Protect your public schools.

From Diane Ravitch
Politico Morning Education writes that Trump has chosen billionaire Betsy DeVos as a campaign surrogate, despite the fact that she is the most disliked member of his Cabinet. No doubt he hopes for DeVos campaign money but also wants to stick his thumb in the eye of teachers and supporters of public schools. DeVos champions charter schools and vouchers. She despises public schools.


To recover missing paychecks, Indiana Virtual School counselors file a federal lawsuit

Like other charter school failures in Indiana,  the taxpayers will wind up paying for this.

From Chalkbeat*
When the online schools lost their charters in August, school board members immediately resigned — despite pending state and federal investigations, an unpaid state debt of $40 million, and thousands of student records still needing to be transferred.

The lawsuit zeroes in on the school’s founder, Thomas Stoughton, who it claims was responsible for the day-to-day management of the schools, the nonprofit board, and the companies running the schools, AlphaCom and Bitloft...

An attorney for Daleville Community Schools, the virtual charter schools’ authorizer, declined to comment on pending litigation. Virtual school officials had sought funds from the district to pay teachers after they said the schools had run out of money — a request that Daleville did not grant.

While some blame Daleville’s lax oversight for leading to the problems at Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, Daleville officials have contended that they intervened as soon as they discovered potential wrongdoing at the schools.


Education frustration: State lawmakers get an earful on school resources

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Teachers described working to the point of exhaustion, spending money from their own pockets to supplement classroom activities and struggling to help kids with no funding to help. Others talked about discouraging their own family members from pursuing a career as an educator.

“I feel disenfranchised,” one elementary school teacher said, adding that when his parents and grandparents were teachers, there was more support for public schools.

Although pay and benefits were a concern, none of the teachers said they believed it was the biggest issue facing northeast Indiana schools.

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


No comments: