Monday, April 27, 2020

In Case You Missed It – Apr 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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Texas: Charter Schools Grow Rapidly Despite Inferior Performance Compared to Public Schools

Diane Ravitch reports on yet another report showing that charter schools do no better than public schools, and often do worse, while taking unaccountable funds away from the public system.

For an analysis of the Gumbert report see Charter Expansion Grants – Funding Some of the Lowest Performing Schools in Texas.

From Diane Ravitch
William Gumbert prepared a graphic portrayal of the dramatic growth of privately managed charter schools in Texas.

Two facts stand out from his presentation:

1) Charter schools are diverting billions of dollars from the state’s underfunded public schools.

2) Public schools perform better than charter schools.

Public officials are turning public money over to entrepreneurs at a furious pace without regard to the results.

Charter schools this year will take more than $3 Billion away from the state’s public schools, despite the poor performance of the charter schools. Since their inception, charters have diverted more than $23 Billion from the state’s public schools.

Public schools in Texas are underfunded and have been underfunded since 2011, when the state legislature recklessly cut $5.4 Billion from the schools’ budget. That cut was never fully restored.

Diverting money to charter schools adds more damage to the public schools that continue to enroll the vast majority of students in the state.


School systems and individual schools surrounding Fort Wayne, are providing food and supplies to the community.

Supplies from empty EACS elementary classrooms donated to healthcare workers

Unused sanitary supplies from two East Allen Coutny Schools elementary schools will go to benefit Parkview and Heritage Pointe healthcare workers.

Cartfuls of Lysol wipes and bottles of hand sanitizer donated to elementary school classrooms at the beginning of the school year will finish out the semester helping healthcare workers after a one Leo employee was inspired by a Facebook post.

Schools stepping up to feed students

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools – which offers meals to all children, regardless of the school they attend – generally has served about 5,000 to 6,000 children a day, but demand jumped Monday and Tuesday to about 6,700 to 6,800 students fed, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said. She noted weather can affect turnout...

East Allen County Schools – which provides meals weekly, also to any child in the community – distributed 25,000 breakfasts, 25,000 lunches and 50,000 milk cartons for 5,000 students this week, spokeswoman Tamyra Kelly said...

Southwest Allen County Schools had served a total of 21,533 meals to students as of Wednesday, said Brant Brown, food service director.


NAEP Scores Drop in History, Civics: DeVos Blames Public Schools, Not NCLB, RTTT, ESSA, CCSS

As Diane Ravitch has explained many times, the NAEP Proficient level is not the equivalent to grade level achievement. In her book Reign of Error (p. 47 ff), Ravitch wrote, "...a student who is 'proficient' earns a solid A and not less than a B+...'basic' is probably a B or a C student."

The latest scores on the NAEP discussed in this essay have, in nearly all categories, between two-thirds and three-fourths of the students scoring above Basic.

We also know that students who live in poverty score lower than students who have higher incomes, and the latest scores, like the scores in past years and, indeed, the scores from all standardized tests, reflect a low average score because of the high number of low income students in the US.

The problems that cause the apparent low achievement of American students are not poor schools, teachers, or students. The causes are the misunderstanding of test scores, and the high levels of child poverty in the US.

From Diane Ravitch
The National Center for Education Statistics released NAEP scores in history and geography, which declined, and in civics, which were flat.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos went into her customary rant against public schools, but the real culprit is a failed federal policy of high-stakes testing narrowly focused on reading and math. If DeVos were able to produce data to demonstrate that scores on the same tests were rising for the same demographic groups in charter schools and voucher schools, she might be able to make an intelligent point, but all she has is her ideological hatred of public schools.

After nearly 20 years of federal policies of high-stakes testing, punitive accountability, and federal funding of school choice, the results are in. The “reforms” mandated by No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, the Every Student Succeeds Act, as well as the federally-endorsed (Gates-funded) Common Core, have had no benefit for American students.



MA: Governor Offers Terrible Reason To Re-open Schools

From Curmudgucation
Well, of all the stupid reasons to re-open schools before summer comes, this offering from Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has to be among the worst:
One reason Baker said he wants to see schools reopen before the end of the school year would be so students could take tests to determine how far behind they fell due to the pandemic.
Baker has been an ed reformster since he was elected in 2014, complete with ties to the charter industry and threw his own weight behind the ill-fated, dark-money-financed initiative to raise the charter cap.

So it's not exactly a shock to find him advocating for this idea, which is, I should repeat, really dumb.


‘Just as important as I-69 being paved’: McCormick calls on state, not schools, to solve internet access gaps

When schools move online some students are left behind.

From Chalkbeat*
With some Indiana students continuing to do schoolwork on paper while their classmates take part in video conferences with teachers, State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick says the state must make critical investments to ensure all families have internet access.

“This infrastructure is just as important as I-69 being paved,” McCormick said Tuesday in a livestreamed address to the media. “We need to make sure that all citizens have access to the internet. … It’s crippling if as a state we don’t take care of it.”

Without any comprehensive statewide effort to get all students online during the coronavirus crisis, districts have largely been tasked with filling the gaps when it comes to computers and home internet access.


Even after Indiana schools reopen, it could take time to get back to normal, McCormick says

From Chalkbeat*
McCormick is advising schools to plan on summer school programs continuing online. All Indiana schools are closed for the rest of the school year under a statewide order, and Hoosiers are under a stay-at-home order through May 1. Gov. Eric Holcomb has indicated that parts of the state’s economy could slowly start to reopen next month.

“We want to be good partners in getting our economy and our businesses back going, but schools [are] a big piece of that wheel to turn,” McCormick said.


You Can’t Have My Students’ Lives to Restart Your Economy

"I'm willing to sacrifice the lives of some of my students for the benefit of the economy," said no teacher...ever.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
It’s okay if a few children die to start up the economy.

That is literally the opinion being offered by media influencers and policymakers as Coronavirus social distancing efforts continue passed the 30-day mark...

Yet there is a concerted effort by the Trump Administration and plutocrats everywhere to get business back up and running. And to do that, they need the schools to reopen so parents can return to work.

They literally want to reopen schools as soon as possible – even if it isn’t 100% safe.

And if that means students, teachers and parents die, at least their sacrifices will have been worth it.

“Schools are a very appetizing opportunity,” said Dr. Mehmet Oz as a guest on Fox News’ Sean Hannity show.

*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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