Monday, May 18, 2020

In Case You Missed It – May 18, 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.

Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick (fourth from right),
with Indiana public school advocates (and NEIFPE members).


The Republicans in Indiana's General Assembly continue to push for the privatization of public education as does U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. They don't much care for the education policies of fellow Republican, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick. To assure that privatization gets even more support the position of the state education leader, along with every member of the State Board of Education will soon be appointed either by the Governor or the majority leaders in both the State Senate and State House of Representatives. The voters of Indiana will no longer have the opportunity to elect any state-level education decision-makers.

Jennifer McCormick, is a public school veteran. As such she is wise enough to disregard the "guidance" of the U.S. Department of Education in the distribution of federal money from the CARES Act. Dr. McCormick has been supporting public education since she took over the job three years ago, while her counterpart in the federal government has done the opposite. Betsy DeVos has no public education experience. She neither attended nor worked in public schools. She was never a public education parent. She has no educational training whatsoever. Fortunately for the students of Indiana, Dr. McCormick has seen to it that the money from the CARES Act will go where it's most needed.

Indiana schools chief stands up to DeVos

From School Matters
Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick is taking bold action by rejecting guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and distributing emergency aid for schools the way Congress intended.

It’s remarkable that, thanks to McCormick, Indiana appears to be the first state to openly push back against U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and refuse to follow guidance that it deems to be contrary to the law.

At issue is funding from the CARES Act, which provides $13.2 billion to help schools respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools can use the money to improve technology, protect student health and plan for the next school year.

Indiana rejects guidance from DeVos to reroute more coronavirus relief to private schools

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana is instructing public school districts to ignore controversial guidance from U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos that would have rerouted millions in federal coronavirus relief money to private schools.

In a memo to school districts dated Tuesday, Republican State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said ignoring the advice means Indiana is following the “intent” of the federal CARES Act — to prioritize schools with high poverty. DeVos’ guidance conflicts with the federal law, said Indiana Department of Education spokesperson Adam Baker.

“The guidance issued by the [U.S.] Department of Education is just that, guidance,” said the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, according to the memo.

McCormick sides with 'Congressional intent' to give public schools priority

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The federal CARES Act provided billions for schools in an education stabilization fund that was to be distributed using the Title I formula – or based on the number of low-income students a school has. Both public and private schools are eligible.

Indiana's K-12 cut is about $215 million.

But Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education, released guidance that directed the money be distributed based on total enrollment instead.

That meant Indiana private schools would have seen their share tripled – from $4.9 million to $15.4 million.


Small Things: Secretary DeVos, Twitter and Teachers Vs. Charters

"...a weird way to run a national education system."

From Curmudgucation these exceedingly weird times, I think it's worth highlighting once again that we have a Secretary of Education who is not a supporter of public education or the people who work there, who is, in fact, far more excited about a privately-run system for replacing the institution that she is charged with overseeing. I can't say that it's highly abnormal, because the office has never attracted many people who really support public education, but it's still weird that when public school teachers look up at state and federal authorities, they find people who are lined up against them. It's a weird way to run a national education system.


Without The Big Standardized Test, Would Schools Be Flying Blind?

If anything, the coronavirus pandemic has confirmed that the standardized testing madness, which has tortured America's students and teachers for the last two+ decades, has been a waste of time and money.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
There is a long list of things that people have in mind when they ask “How is this school doing” that are not addressed by the test.

And what the test does address, it doesn’t address very well. School results can be predicted fairly effectively just by using demographic information, and individual student results take far too long to come back for them to be of any use to classroom teachers.

The notion that parents, teachers and students will have no idea what’s going on in their school unless they can see scores from that one special test is absurd. When students return, teachers will do what they have always done. They will do their own formal and informal assessments of students for quick, on the spot information about where those students are. They won’t be flying blind, and they won’t miss the scores from the Big Standardized Test.


Carroll High School to hold in-person commencement at Coliseum

One area high school is planning to hold a graduation ceremony while, at the same time, complying with social distancing standards.

Carroll High School will hold an in-person graduation later this summer at Memorial Coliseum, according to a letter obtained by WANE 15.

The ceremony will be split into two nights with the first half of the alphabet scheduled for Wednesday, July 8 at 7 p.m. in the main arena of the Coliseum. The second half of the alphabet will be the following night, Thursday, July 9, at 7 p.m.

School officials said they haven’t put a definitive break in where the graduating class will be split as they are limited to the number of graduates they can have on the floor. The number of spectators will also be limited, but the school says breaking the ceremony into two events will allow parents to attend.


Thoughts on Reimagining Public Schools

How do you "reimagine" public education after the coronavirus pandemic?

From Live Long and Prosper
"Just one day earlier, Cuomo had announced a similar partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop 'a smarter education system.' Calling Gates a 'visionary,' Cuomo said the pandemic has created 'a moment in history when we can actually incorporate and advance [Gates’s] ideas … all these buildings, all these physical classrooms — why with all the technology you have?' he asked, apparently rhetorically.

"It has taken some time to gel, but something resembling a coherent Pandemic Shock Doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the 'Screen New Deal.' Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent — and highly profitable — no-touch future." -- Naomi Klein


Applications for vote-by-mail ballots are due by 11:59 pm May 21, 2020.

You can get forms by phone, email, or directly from the election board web site. For more information click the image below.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, 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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