Monday, June 29, 2020

In Case You Missed It – June 29, 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.


Some Indiana schools will reopen without a full-time nurse, raising concerns

Will you feel safe to send your child to a school without a full-time nurse?

From Chalkbeat*
Before the pandemic closed buildings, not every school in Indiana had a dedicated, full-time nurse, according to officials. The state only requires that each district have at least one, even if it includes multiple buildings. And advocates say many districts don’t meet the nationally recommended ratio of one nurse for every 750 students.

Now, the importance of having a medical profession is heightened as districts work through how to reopen safely during the ongoing pandemic.

“I think it’s critical to have a school nurse on site,” Bishop said. “The need is even more amplified right now because of COVID-19. As an educator, I’m not a healthcare professional. Having someone who is is more important now than I think it’s ever been.”


Memphis: Two KIPP Charters Close Suddenly, Stranding Students

Charter schools are businesses. When they stop making money they close, often with no warning.

From Diane Ravitch
In reality, KIPP gave up. They gave up on their students, families, faculty and staff after only a few years of operation. Make no mistake, this was a financial decision that is inequitable to the historic Alcy Ball community in South Memphis.

KIPP cited a “failure to fulfill academic promise” which resulted in the closures, and the only excuse provided for the late notice was that they did not want to mislead the schools’ key stakeholders regarding their future.

This was a cheap and inaccurate shot at the integrity of the teachers and faculty, who spent money out of their own pockets to make sure that their students were adequately clothed, fed and supplied.


Trump Back DeVos On Soaking Scammed Students

Betsy DeVos is quick to deny any loan forgiveness for students. In 2013 the State of Indiana forgave more than $90 million in Charter School Loans. We wonder what DeVos would think about that...

From Curmudgucation
DeVos has been plenty clear in her feelings about debt relief, siding whole-heartedly the corporate interests. She has thoroughly choked off the public service loan forgiveness program as a prelude to proposing to kill it entirely. Called in before the House Education Committee to explain why she was still dragging her feet on loan forgiveness for the scammed students, she offered a very DeVosian quote:

I understand that some of you here just want to have blanket forgiveness for anyone who raises their hand and files a claim, but that simply is not right.
The very idea of people borrowing money and then being excused from paying it back really, really rubs her the wrong way. She hates it. So she wrote new rules, under which hardly anyone would get loan forgiveness.

And Congress finally said, "Enough."


EACS details ‘reopening safety plan’; says full plan still in development

From Fort Wayne NBC
A reopening safety plan published by East Allen County Schools lays out guidelines and expectations for those on campus, though the district says its complete and "official" plan for the coming school year remains in development.

The reopening safety plan includes employee health screening, enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols, and social distancing measures.

A spokesperson for the district says the plan is a work-in-progress, and administrators are still ironing out more concrete protocols. She describes the document that was published as a district adherence to directives from the governor.

According to the plan, the number of students, employees and visitors allowed in the buildings will be limited and social distancing will be enforced "whenever possible".

Those who enter the school are encouraged to wear masks although they are not required.

Hand wipes and sanitizer will be available at all the main entrances, and common touch points like doorknobs and handles will be cleaned daily by custodians. Drinking fountains will not be in use.


FWCS hands Robinson $20,000: Smith votes against severance check amid uncertainty

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
In her last meeting as superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools after 17 years, Wendy Robinson received a going-away gift – a $20,000 severance check.

The board voted 6-1 in favor of the payment. Tom Smith, 3rd District, voted against the measure, saying his vote didn't reflect his opinion of Robinson's performance in her job or as a community leader.

Smith said because of the way COVID-19 has affected parents and taxpayers, with many unemployed or working only part-time or more than one job, he said he could not justify the expense.

The schools also are facing uncertainty in funding from the state, he said.

“I can't imagine a worse time to give someone an extra $20,000 that wasn't contracted for,” Smith said.

“My vote is all about saving money at this time,” he added.

Robinson's final contract included a base annual salary of $210,164.

School board members praised Robinson for leading the schools through tumultuous times that included the rise of charter and voucher schools, shrinking state funds, three building referendums and a student population growing in diversity.

“Through it all, Dr. Robinson has kept the wolves at bay,” said Ann Duff.


5 key recommendations for reopening schools from Indiana’s top health expert

Hoosier schools leaders have to puzzle it out. Let’s hope they do as Dr. McCormick suggests and confer with their local health departments.

From Chalkbeat*
School districts statewide are scrambling to come up with their own plans for reopening next school year, after buildings were closed for months to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Reopening campuses is one of the last and trickiest steps in Gov. Eric Holcomb’s plan to lift statewide restrictions. In Indiana, hundreds of new COVID-19 cases continue to be reported daily.

Here are five key takeaways from Box’s advice for schools:

1. School reopening plans don’t have to be approved by local health departments...

2. Masks will be key to preventing the spread of COVID-19...

3. Self- or home-screening is highly recommended...

4. Water fountains should be shut down...

5. Schools should be cautious about activities, including athletics and choir...

*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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