Monday, June 22, 2020

In Case You Missed It – June 22, 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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The last thing schools need to spend money on is tests. States are going to be very short of cash due to the lack of leadership by the federal government. Education funding ought to go to the classroom, not the corporate board room of a multinational testing company.

Leonie Haimson: NYC DOE Finds $6 Million for Pearson

From Diane Ravitch
Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, reports that the NYC Department of Education plans to award $6 million to testing giant Pearson, despite the pandemic and looming budget cuts.


Pence’s ‘school choice’ in Indiana

As governor of Indiana, Mike Pence was a fan of private education paid for with public funds. He never missed a chance for a private school photo-op...and generally ignored public education. Now, as VP he -- and his boss -- want to bring the money wasted on privatization to the federal level. With Betsy DeVos and a newly packed federal judiciary leading the charge, he just might be able to do that.

That would be a mistake.

From School Matters
Asked a simple question Tuesday about race in America, Vice President Mike Pence deflected to a soliloquy about all the Trump administration has done for African Americans, including the way it has “stood strong for school choice.”

Pence was following the script laid out by the president, who said that school choice is “the civil rights (issue) of all time in this country.”

How does that look from Indiana, where Pence was governor for four years before he hitched his wagon to Trump’s star? Frankly, not so good.


No one knows what will happen this fall when it's time for schools to open. Will COVID-19 still be a threat? Will students have to work from home? Attend school in shifts? Wear masks?

It’s mid-June and schools still aren’t sure how they will open for 2020-21. Here’s why — and what’s likely to happen.

From the Answer Sheet
It’s mid-June and most school district superintendents still haven’t announced exactly what schools will look like when they open for the 2020-21 school year. In many places, reopening will be in August, which doesn’t give them a lot of time to decide and put the plans in motion.

But we do know that just about every aspect of schooling will be different than it has been in the past. Protective measures will be in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, and a “hybrid” model of in-person and remote learning will become commonplace in many, if not most, districts.

Teachers Face A Summer Of Soul Searching. What Do They Do In The Fall?

From Peter Greene in Forbes
Teachers know, in their guts, where this is headed. They have seen versions of this movie before. For instance, in 1975 Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which promised every student with disabilities a free appropriate public education. Knowing that meant extra expenses for school districts, Congress promised funding to back IDEA. They have never, in 45 years, honored that promise, and schools have just had to find their own way to meet that unfunded mandate.


GOP Legislators To Schools: Re-Open Or Else.

One size does not fit all.

Indiana's third district US Congressman, Jim Banks, and a Wisconsin colleague have decided that the health of those who attend school, work in schools, or are related to those who attend or work in schools doesn't matter.

In a blatant attempt at extortion, Rep. Banks and Tom Tiffany (R-WI) have introduced a bill that would require schools to open for in-person instruction by September 8, 2020, or face the loss of federal education dollars. It doesn't matter what the local pandemic conditions are. It doesn't matter what the local health risks are. "Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead."

From Peter Greene in Forbes
Representative Jim Banks of Indiana and freshly-elected Representative Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin have decided to throw some weight behind the push to re-open schools in the fall by creating the granddaddy of all unfunded mandates.

The Reopen Our Schools Act sends a pretty simple message to schools—open up in the fall, or we will cut off your federal funding. I’ve seen the text of the bill—it’s 37 lines long, including the section of definitions. Its purpose is listed as “To prohibit the Secretary of Education from providing funding to certain educational institutions unless the institutions return to in-person instruction, and for other purposes.“


Charter Schools, Some With Billionaire Benefactors, Tap Coronavirus Relief

Are charter schools public schools or are they private businesses? It depends on which way the money flows. When states began funding charters with public dollars, then they decided that charters are public schools. When the US Congress offered small business relief during the coronavirus pandemic, those same charter schools turned towards the money and claimed to be private businesses. They can't -- or shouldn't -- have it both ways.

From the New York Times
Charter schools, including some with healthy cash balances and billionaire backers like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates, have quietly accepted millions of dollars in emergency coronavirus relief from a fund created to help struggling small businesses stay afloat.

Since their inception, charter schools have straddled the line between public schools and private entities. The coronavirus has forced them to choose.

And dozens of them — potentially more because the Treasury Department has not disclosed a list — have decided for the purpose of coronavirus relief that they are businesses, applying for aid even as they continue to enjoy funding from school budgets, tax-free status and, in some cases, healthy cash balances and the support of billionaire backers.


Teach for America’s 2020 Trainees to Enter the Classroom with Only Tutoring Experience

Teach for America had never given their "teachers" much training. Five weeks in the summer was enough because since everyone has gone to school everyone can teach, right?

There's a reason it takes actual teachers four years to complete a teacher training program. Teaching children in public schools is more than just presenting information. If you don't know that -- and TFA trainers apparently don't -- then you shouldn't be in the classroom.

From deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog
In this time of school closures and social distancing, teacher temp agency, Teach for America (TFA), has decided to “train” its 2020 corps members online.

As former TFAer-gone-career teacher, Gary Rubinstein, writes, pre-COVID, TFA trainees actually teach on average one hour per day over the course of four weeks during the summer, in classrooms which they share with four other TFA trainees.

As such, TFA trainees have no experience teaching even one entire school day in a classroom in which the trainee is responsible for all instruction.

And now, with the social restrictions and classroom complexities introduced by the coronavirus, TFA’s 2020 trainees will have no experience being in charge of a classroom– not even an entire classroom online.


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