Monday, March 2, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Mar 2, 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.


Professor: Purdue's 'first year free' plan bad for students, bad for the university

A free year of college sounds pretty good until you hear who is teaching it...

From the Journal & Courier Online
While this is the official description of “Fast Start,” what Klinsky and President Daniels actually announced on Feb. 18 is this: Klinsky and Sherry are paying Purdue $1 million dollars so that Purdue can pay the College Board $1 million dollars to cover Indiana high school student CLEP exams. And they will be receiving their freshman year at Purdue for free not from Purdue professors but instead from those Klinsky has chosen.


Indiana: Key Employees of Failed Online Charter Join New Online Charter

From Diane Ravitch
Last year, two large online charter schools collapsed in Indiana at a cost of $86 million.

Now a new online charter has opened and hired some key employees of those that defrauded they public.

Last summer, as two large Indiana virtual charter schools collapsed under the weight of fraud allegations, a small new online program made its debut.

Indian Creek Online Academy was launched by a 2,000-student district south of Indianapolis experimenting with new ways of reaching students.


How the state missed thousands of ‘ghost’ students at two Indiana virtual schools

IDOE is not to blame here.

From Chalkbeat*
An alleged $86 million education scam has exposed a troubling weak spot in Indiana: For years, two virtual charter schools appear to have duped the state’s school funding system.

How did the thousands of “ghost” students go undetected by the Indiana Department of Education — the gatekeeper of student counts and school funding — leading Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy to draw millions more in state dollars than they should have?

In a memo sent to state lawmakers this week, the IDOE said it “takes all measures available from a data validation standpoint to ensure schools are not being improperly funded.” The department runs some 70 rounds of checks on enrollment counts used for funding, including steps to clean up data and verify that students aren’t being claimed by more than one district.


Ed chief leery of new laws

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
“We're staring at 2,200 new laws just for K-12,” McCormick told the partially filled auditorium. “I encourage you to share with your legislators, 'Just take your foot off the accelerator for a minute.'”

She repeatedly said, “we are who we vote for,” and applauded the more than 30 teachers running for state office.

She also noted a troubling statistic: 35% of teachers will leave the profession within their first five years. The turnover comes with high costs and can be a nightmare for administrators trying to fill the positions as well as for the teachers who taught beside those who left.

“When a good teacher walks out, you feel it every day,” McCormick said. “It takes a toll on everyone.”


Indiana lawmakers scrap plan to let schools count high school equivalency as a diploma

Just another way our legislators show they don’t care about Hoosier students. Guess they’d rather waste millions of dollars on fraud that lines pockets instead of a pilot that would have cost the taxpayers nothing and could have made a positive difference in the lives of Hoosiers.

From Chalkbeat*
A panel of Indiana lawmakers walked back a potential pilot program for high schools Monday after concerns were raised about allowing students who don’t receive a diploma to graduate.

The pilot would have allowed seniors behind on credits to be counted as graduates if they pass a high school equivalency exam and take steps toward career training.

It would have been a big change since students who earn their equivalency, Indiana’s version of the GED, are currently considered dropouts. The idea passed through the Senate earlier this month, but the House education committee changed the proposal Monday to no longer affect schools’ graduation rates.


Those Third-Grade Punishment Laws

From Live Long and Prosper
Not all children are the same and we shouldn't expect them to be. We don't expect all third graders to be the same height by the end of the school year. Why should we expect them to be at the same reading skill level?

Why is it only reading "grade level" that triggers retention? What about math "grade level" or music "grade level" or physical education "grade level" or behavior "grade level?"

And what if we retain a child in third grade and he still can't read at "grade level" after a second year? Do we retain him again? How many times?

...There are external forces in children's lives that have an impact on school achievement. Teachers have no control over things like a child's food or housing insecurity. Teachers can't be held responsible for a child's lack of health insurance or lack of medical/dental care, Teachers can't control the environmental pollutants in a child's neighborhood.


The gift of school accountability

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Editor's note: The following are remarks delivered by Indiana Superintendent of the Year Phil Downs at the Feb. 17 public education rally at the Indiana Statehouse.

Read more about the impact of private-school vouchers on public school funding at his website,

Public schools are held accountable for every penny that comes across our desks. We are held accountable for every penny budgeted, and we are held accountable for every penny spent. Every. Penny. This financial oversight is a gift to us and to our taxpayers.

Accountability is a gift that helps us all make the right decisions. Accountability is also why some school districts have been taken over by the state.

And accountability is why we now know that virtual charter schools have ripped off the taxpayers of Indiana to the tune of at least $68 million.

This year, Indiana is projected to take $168 million from the already underfunded tuition support budget and, through the Choice Scholarship Program, give it as vouchers, primarily to organizations one of whose central tenets is that we are all sinners and need help, and then deny them the gift of any financial oversight whatsoever.

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

**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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