Monday, June 15, 2020

In Case You Missed It – June 15, 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.


The Student-Teacher Relationship is One of the Most Misunderstood and Underrated Aspects of Education

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
Test-obsessed policy makers will tell educators to manage everything with a clipboard and a spreadsheet – for example, to increase the percentage of positive interactions vs negative ones in a given class period. But such a data-centric mindset dehumanizes both student and teacher.

The goal cannot be to maximize numbers whether they be test scores or some other metric. It has to be about the relationship, itself.

Teachers have to care about their students. All teachers. All students.

Or at least we have to try.


School Funding in the COVID-19 Era

How will we fund public schools when the states are out of money?

From Diane Ravitch
The coronavirus has caused incalculable harm to millions of people. Two million people have been infected. More than 100,000 have died. The death toll increases daily. The scientific response to the pandemic—close down the economy—caused additional harm, with most economic activity halted, millions of people out of work, businesses Closed, livelihoods lost. The economic shutdown caused a dramatic decline in state revenues, which means less funding for schools. As schools plan to reopen, classes must be smaller, more nurses and healthcare workers are needed, and costs will rise, to keep students and staff safe.

How can schools cut costs while costs are rising? They can’t.

With little to no help or guidance from state and federal government, Hoosier schools and parents are left to figure school opening out.

Indiana schools reopening: Why screening for coronavirus could be difficult

From Chalkbeat*
Before she sends her two children back to school next year, Sherry Holmes said she’d like to see every student and staff member in the state tested for COVID-19.

That seems unlikely as tests remain limited and targeted at those who are high risk or symptomatic. So Holmes said she will likely keep her kindergartner and third grader home for a few weeks, at least until she can see what precautions their school is taking.

“For me as a parent, it’s scary just to think about,” she said.

Reopening school buildings is one of the last and trickiest steps in Gov. Eric Holcomb’s plan to lift statewide restrictions brought on by the coronavirus. The Indiana State Department of Health reports hundreds of new COVID-19 cases daily, and the return of thousands of children and educators to classrooms could further spread the virus.

Indiana schools to have flexibility when reopening

State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick addressed teachers and administrators during a webinar Tuesday following the state Department of Education’s release of school reentry guidelines last week. She emphasized the “freedom” local leaders have to determine how their schools will reopen and operate during the coronavirus pandemic. McCormick says that with many schools starting the academic year by early August, some expect to hold all or most classes online. Others, especially in rural areas, plan to return to the “brick and mortar” setting as soon as possible.

To watch the webinar on YouTube, follow this link.

Holcomb: Indiana schools ‘can and should open for instruction’

Apparently, Holcomb has decided COVID-19 is not a threat to our children, our educators and their families, and he has no problem asking schools to do even more impossible things with less funding.

From Chalkbeat*
“We believe, where we are right now, schools can and should open for instruction, and we wouldn’t have made that decision or endorsed the proposal to go forward if we thought otherwise,” Holcomb said during his regular public update.

As one of the final pieces in Holcomb’s plan to reopen Indiana by July 4, the state released guidelines Friday for students and teachers to return to classrooms for the first time since mid-March. Those guidelines included recommendations for screening students and staff for the coronavirus, maintaining social distancing in classrooms and buses, and creating health plans for vulnerable individuals.


The appeals court overturned a ruling that Americans have a right to an education. However, Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03) apparently disagrees with the court when he claims that education is "guaranteed" to all. Which is it?

Federal Appeals Court Rules: No Right to Education

From Diane Ravitch
A federal appeals court overturned a landmark ruling that affirmed the right to an education. Education is necessary for full citizenship, so voters can be fully informed. However the appeals court did not agree.

Indiana lawmaker proposes bill to strip funding from schools if they don't reopen in-person this fall

Emerson's quote, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." seems to fit the law proposed by Jim Banks (IN-03). His proposal insists that schools open in the fall or lose federal funding. Meanwhile, the directions from the State of Indiana seems to give local school districts some discretion in how and when to reopen.

Rep. Jim Banks (IN-03) is proposing a bill that would cutoff a school’s federal funding if they refuse to reopen for in-person learning in the fall.

The legislation is called: Reopen Our Schools Act.

“We need to change the subject from ‘our schools might not reopen in the fall’ to ‘our schools will reopen in the fall and here’s what we need to do it,’” Rep. Banks said. “America is the land of opportunity where education is guaranteed to all children. We’re not living up that guarantee at the moment.”

The concern is that remote learning is not effective and lack of internet keeps low-income or rural families from being able to do classwork.


It seems that Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education under her control is doing everything it can to hurt students.

Trump and DeVos Push School Choice, No $ for Undocumented

From Diane Ravitch
— DeVos said in a statement that the rule was aimed at eliminating any “uncertainty” for colleges about how they must distribute the funds, while carrying out the department’s “responsibility to taxpayers to administer the CARES Act faithfully.”

— Democratic lawmakers have pushed back, saying the rule violates the intent of the CARES Act. “As students across the country are struggling to make ends meet in the face of unprecedented financial challenges, Secretary DeVos’ efforts to deny some much-needed aid is cruel,” said Senate HELP ranking member Patty Murray (D-Wash.). “These extreme eligibility requirements will not only harm students, but they are also contrary to Congressional intent.” Read more from Michael Stratford.

DeVos Insists on Denying Federal CARES Aid to Undocumented Students

From Diane Ravitch
In another act of gratuitous cruelty, Betsy DeVos insists that undocumented students should get no emergency aid, although Congress did not pass such a restriction.

Politico reports:

DEVOS SEEKS TO ENFORCE RESTRICTIONS ON PANDEMIC RELIEF GRANTS THROUGH REGULATION: The Trump administration will roll out a new regulation this week that restricts which college students may receive emergency grants to cover expenses like food and housing.

DeVos Illegally Seizes $2.2 Billion from Indebted College Students

From Diane Ravitch the middle of a global pandemic and an economic meltdown, with millions of people out of work, the DeVos Department of Education illegally seized $2.2 billion from students who were in debt.

Adam S. Minsky wrote in Forbes:

In response to a class action lawsuit filed by student loan borrowers, the U.S. Department of Education disclosed that it had intercepted and seized over $2.2 billion in tax refunds owed to a million student loan borrowers, in violation of the CARES Act.


A Classic: John Oliver on Charter Schools

From Diane Ravitch
In 2016, John Oliver presented a shocking episode about charter schools.

It has been viewed by 12 million people.

Oliver was the first and possibly the only major media figure to discover that charter schools had some serious problems.

Some close in the middle of the year.

Watch his clip with John Kasich comparing education to getting more pepperoni on a slice of pizza.

*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.


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