Monday, May 4, 2020

In Case You Missed It – May 4, 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.


Carol Burris on NPE Survey of Emergency Remote Learning

Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher, and NEIFPE member Eileen Doherty was quoted twice in Carol Burris's article in the Washington Post. Diane Ravitch provided a summary.

From Diane Ravitch
In the Midwest, Fort Wayne elementary school teacher Eileen Doherty struggles to teach her inner-city students. She is dismayed by the differences between what her own children who attend a suburban school have when compared with those she teaches.

One mom explained to her why schoolwork was not her first priority: “I am just trying to feed my children.”

...Fort Wayne, Indiana teacher Eileen Doherty told us, “Some of my students wait for their mother to come home so that they can access her phone to do the work. About 20 percent of my students come to my class on Zoom each day, and it is not even the same 20 percent.”

Getting laptops to seniors who need them for credit recovery for graduation has been the first priority in Fort Wayne, she said.


Trump Teams Up With Catholic Church For School Vouchers

The President promises money for votes.

From Curmudgucation
US Catholic leadership appears to be all in for Trump, in particular looking to him to provide that all important parent tuition assistance. I suppose that could take the form of an actual taxpayer funded subsidy straight to Catholic school parents, but vouchers or education savings accounts would spread the wealth and better obscure the fact that taxpayers would be subsidizing private schools that are free to discriminate on whatever basis they feel compelled to use. The Catholic Church needs some financial backing for their schools, and they've done very, very well where vouchers are legal.

There's a lot of pretty language, but quid pro quo-- money for votes-- seems to cover it. Nobody here is talking about the value of or cost to public education, nor even about the notion that maybe the government and taxpayers (and not just Trump) might look for some give from the Catholic schools like, say, a little less discrimination. Meanwhile, the Catholic Church would do well to remember that when you mix religion and politics, you get politics. And the politics of Trump is solidly anti-public education.

Secretary DeVos’ Sneaky Effort to Divert Coronavirus Dollars to Virtual Charters and Non-Public Schools

From Diane Ravitch
I earlier posted Rep. Rosa DeLauro’s outspoken criticism of Secretary DeVos for diverting CARES (coronavirus relief) funds to her pet projects (anything but public schools). DeVos wants to liberate America’s students from public schools, despite the fact that the legislation does not authorize her to follow her own wishes. DeVos has this wacky idea that learning online is “student-centered,” when it is not. We already know from experience and research that virtual charter schools are typically the worst schools in every state that has them...

Betsy Uses Relief Funds to Push Vouchers and Online Ed

From Diane Ravitch
Betsy thinks the days of learning in physical buildings are obsolete.

I have often posted the research on virtual charter schools. The 2015 CREDO study showed the abject failure of online charter schools. Their results are abysmal. The most EPIC charter scandals are associated with virtual charters like ECOT in Ohio, now bankrupt, and the A1 chain in California, where 11 people were indicted for the disappearance of more than $50 million in state funds.


Jennifer McCormick: Teachers deserve Indiana's appreciation right now

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick, provides the reasons we need to appreciate the State's teachers.

From the Muncie Star Press
With the implementation of protective measures to keep Hoosiers safe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unprecedented closure of school buildings and a move to remote learning for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year signaled drastic changes for May 2020.

However, one thing Hoosiers can count on during this unprecedented time is the dedication of Indiana educators. The same educators who served students every day prior to these challenging times were charged with redefining their roles and operations overnight by establishing innovative ways to connect and support students and their families.

Indiana educators are among the strongest advocates for students and deserve the utmost appreciation and respect. There is no better time to kick off a movement to honor the education profession than during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8. While there will be a celebratory focus through the Indiana Department of Education’s #IndianaLovesTeachers Social Media Campaign, it is important to continue showing educators appreciation through recognition and support. Teachers are true champions as displayed by their commitment to students, families, and communities.


What if students don’t come back? Indiana schools pitch a radical way to protect their budgets

As usual, Bob Behning shows he is not a friend to public school children.

From Chalkbeat*
It’s unclear what school will look like in August, after the coronavirus shut down classrooms across the state through the end of this academic year. But there are growing worries among school officials that the fallout will mean fewer students return. And in a state where funding is doled out per student, a drop in enrollment would mean an immediate financial hit to schools.

Amid the pandemic, fear of contracting the coronavirus could prompt more parents to start homeschooling long-term or transfer to a full-time virtual school. Registration could also be a hurdle. It’s more difficult to recruit families without seeing them in-person, or when they have more pressing priorities, some superintendents said.

“We will have a significant number of families who would want their children to continue to be at home trying to learn remotely,” said Wayne Township Superintendent Jeff Butts. “We already heard some of that.”

In response, school business officials are asking the state to consider freezing districts’ enrollment counts in the fall — a radical new idea. But it seems unlikely to gain traction in a state where the prevailing funding philosophy is having money follow the student.

Will Indiana continue remote learning next fall? Holcomb says a decision may come soon

From Chalkbeat*
Gov. Eric Holcomb could decide within a few weeks whether remote learning will continue next fall, he said in a press conference Monday.

Holcomb already closed all school buildings through the end of the academic year, but has not said what the coronavirus will mean for students over the summer or next fall.

“We are going to get to that decision probably closer to mid-May,” he said. “I want to be the surest and the safest in every step that we take. This isn’t a competition to be first; this is if anything a competition to be the safest.”

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


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