Monday, March 16, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Mar 16, 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.


Time to cancel state tests

With all the school that will be missed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the last thing our students need is to come back to school and waste their time taking standardized tests. It is an easy call...cancel Indiana's tests.

From School Matters
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick and the Indiana Department of Education are calling for standardized tests to be canceled in response to the COVID-19 outbreak that is closing schools across the state. It’s not an easy call, but it’s the right one.

The department asked Friday for schools to be excused from state and federal requirements for standardized assessments for the 2019-20 school year. The requests go to Gov. Eric Holcomb and to the U.S. Department of Education.

Indiana has yet to make the choice for children

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Our students aren't numbers, statistics to be categorized for government reports. Education can't be measured by blanket questions that only serve as checks in the boxes for self-serving policy makers. Every student walks the path of knowledge in their own unique way; we should encourage them to embark on this journey rather than force them all on the same road.

Standardized testing such as ILEARN/ISTEP acts against this very idea. The current government believes that questions created by an analytical construct are more indicative of student success than trusting educators to do their job.

Indiana staggers behind in education, failing our students, our teachers and our community. As a community, we must work together to forge a future our next generation can be proud of. A future where the teachers have decent wages, a future so bright no student is left in the dark, and a future where our administration is reflective of the society they come from. The promise of an education system that guarantees equal opportunity for every child.


Teachers plan walk-in protest for lawmakers

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
“While some of the lawmakers did listen to public school supporters and some positive changes were made, there is still work to be done,” the union leaders said. “We hope this walk-in will remind lawmakers that we are not giving up and still expect more for our Indiana public schools!”


Unaccountable: Amid scandal, lawmakers still favor charter schools

Instead of strengthening the oversight of charter schools, the Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly decided to reward charters with the chance to grab more dollars from real public schools.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The biggest public spending scandal in the state's history came to light in a State Board of Accounts report halfway through the current legislative session. As much as $85 million was misspent by online charter school operators funneling taxpayer funds to connected companies, including $65 million collected for students who were not enrolled in the schools. The investigation has been turned over to federal authorities.

If you expected lawmakers would scramble to tighten spending rules and oversight of your tax dollars in the wake of this mess – think again. The Republican supermajority not only rejected attempts to hold virtual charter schools more accountable, it's now ramming through a last-minute measure to allow charter schools a cut of property taxes from referendums conducted by traditional public schools. Gov. Eric Holcomb, through a tie-breaking vote cast by his lieutenant governor, chose to stand with charter schools and against 291 public school districts.


DeVos Defends Trump’s Education Budget. Will Democrats Stick to Promises for Something Better?

This is who the current administration thinks is qualified to lead America's public schools. It's definitely time for a replacement. Remember in November.

...a must read.

From Jan Resseger
DeVos’s recent Congressional appearances have featured her standard rhetoric trashing public schools. She claims that federal spending has skyrocketed but student achievement, as measured by test scores, has not increased over the decades. Richard Rothstein addressed this myth in a 2011 brief for the Economic Policy Institute: “When properly adjusted for inflation, K-12 per pupil spending has about doubled over the last four decades, but less than half of this new money has gone to regular education (including compensatory education for disadvantaged children, programs for English-language learners, integration programs like magnet schools, and special schools for dropout recovery and prevention). The biggest single recipient of new money has been special education for children with disabilities. Four decades ago, special education consumed less than 4% of all K-12 spending. It now consumes 21%… American public education can boast of remarkable accomplishments in special education over this period. Many young people can now function in society whereas, in the past, children with similar disabilities were institutionalized and discarded. But it is not reasonable to complain about the increase in spending on such children by insisting that it should have produced greater improvement in the achievement of regular children. The increase in regular education spending has still been substantial… But in light of the actual achievement improvements documented by NAEP, it is not reasonable to jump to the facile conclusion of a productivity collapse in K-12 education. A more reasonable story is that spending has increased and achievement has increased as well. Perhaps we have gotten what we paid for.” Federal programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act were launched as part of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. These programs were designed to address the needs of groups of children historically left out and underserved.

Valerie Strauss: Betsy DeVos’s Pathetic Lies

From Diane Ravitch
Valerie Strauss wrote a stunning dissection of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s lies to Congress in her recent testimony.

Was she lying because of ignorance or a desire to mislead the public? She lied about charter wait lists, about progress over time on NAEP scores, and about the failure of the federal Charter Schools Program, which spends $440 million to launch new charters, entirely at DeVos’ discretion.

**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has changed its online access and is now behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both, are available with a subscription. Staying informed is important, and one way to do that is to support your local newspaper. For subscription information go to


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