Monday, September 21, 2020

In Case You Missed It – September 21, 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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Republican Jennifer McCormick endorses Democrat Woody Myers for governor

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jennifer McCormick, has spent the last four years at the helm of the Indiana Department of Education and has seen who supports public education and who doesn't.

From IndyStar
Republican Jennifer McCormick has endorsed the top Indiana Democrat running for office.

The superintendent of public instruction will back Dr. Woody Myers for governor, IndyStar has learned exclusively. In her extraordinary decision not to back the governor from her own party, she cited Myers' intellect, concern and commitment to education.

“Indiana’s students deserve leadership that invests in their future," McCormick said. "Educators need leadership that will provide support and resources to meet their complex responsibilities."


DeVos to State Ed Chiefs: Don’t Even Think About Testing Waivers This Year.

According to US Education Secretary DeVos, nothing is more important than testing...even when that testing is misused to provide evaluations of teachers and schools.

From deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog
...DeVos does not even bother with arguments against ESSA-mandated testing in pandemic-saturated 2020-21– just a wafture of her testing-slanted hand to any criticism on that front.

How come? Well, because “opponents of reform, like labor unions”:

Opponents of reform, like labor unions, have already begun to call for the permanent elimination of testing. If they succeed in eliminating assessments, transparency and accountability will soon follow.
So, if the tests go, then the psychometrically unsound practice of using student test scores to grade teachers and schools is threatened. Oh, but no! We cannot allow the testing-to-grade-others to be threatened, and anyone who threatens testing is “like labor unions.” If you oppose test-centric ed, you are Like Labor Unions, the worst of insults in DeVos-think.

There is no pandemic that can stop DeVos and her ESSA tests. She tells the state chiefs whom she is willfully ignoring that she is here for them to “help ensure every state can meaningfully assesses student performance during SY 2020-2021.”


Grade card: Most area lawmakers fail in evaluation of support for public schools

Does your local legislator support public education over privatization? Chances are, the answer is "no."

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
...the Republican Party's state election committee has a different measure of results than the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, which awarded that same lawmaker a D based on his votes on nine pieces of legislation. The coalition's legislative report card looked at bills “that diverted taxpayers' money away from public schools, damaged public control of education, or either supported or harmed public education.”

The Fort Wayne Republican wasn't the only member of the General Assembly to earn a D. All but one northeast Indiana Republican facing reelection earned Ds. Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Milford, earned a C. He bucked his party leaders in opposing House Bill 1005 in the 2019 session. The bill moved up the date for abolishing the elected office of the state superintendent of public instruction by four years. The bill was approved and the next governor will appoint a state schools chief effective Jan. 11, 2021.

House Minority Leader Phil Gia-Quinta, D-Fort Wayne, was the sole area lawmaker to earn an A. The only grade of F also went to an area lawmaker, Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn. He was the only member of the General Assembly to vote against this year's HB 1002, which suspends the requirement to use test scores as a measure on teacher evaluations. The legislation was introduced in the wake of the state's latest standardized testing debacle. ILEARN, the “computer-adaptive” test replacing ISTEP+, produced sharply decreased scores in the spring of 2019.


Youth cases rise as school begins: Officials blame socializing away from buildings

Why are public schools always tasked with solving societal problems that municipalities and legislatures can't solve? Here we have the current national health crisis being dumped on public schools across the country. In Allen County, cases of COVID-19 among children has grown since schools opened for face-to-face instruction. Are teachers and adult school workers, who are more at risk for serious outcomes of positive COVID-19 diagnoses than their students, provided with enough personal protective equipment to protect themselves?

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Thousands of Hoosier students have tested positive for COVID-19 since school began, an analysis of statewide data shows.

During a five-month period from early March through the end of July, 6,178 people in the 0-19 age range tested positive for the new coronavirus, according to data from the Indiana State Department of Health. But that number has ballooned in recent weeks as kids returned to K-12 schools and colleges.

From Aug. 1 to Sept. 13 – less than two months – an additional 7,366 youths have tested positive.

Allen County had 326 cases in the lowest age range through July. Since then, the county added 309 cases in less than half that time. About 18% of all of Allen County's cases in the youngest age bracket came during the first 13 days of September.

The age range covers all K-12 students and some college students, along with a small number of children not yet attending school.


Virus spurs teacher exits: Some quit, calling risk too great, protections too little

The US was already facing a critical teacher shortage. As teachers choose to protect themselves against the coronavirus, the shortage will increase. Who will be teaching your children?

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
A spring USA Today/Ipsos poll of about 500 K-12 educators found 20% of teachers were unlikely to return to school if classrooms reopened in fall. About that time, an EdWeek Research Center survey of almost 2,000 educators nationwide found 20% were somewhat or very likely to leave the classroom at the end of the 2019-20 academic year compared with 9% who felt that way before the pandemic. Last month, the National Education Association reported its nationwide poll of educators found 28% were more likely to retire early or leave the profession because of COVID-19.

Locally, the Fort Wayne Education Association in August asked teachers whether they were considering not returning to their position because of health concerns. About 29% of 2,040 respondents said yes. A link to the informal, Google form survey was on the union's website and promoted on social media. Most participants identified themselves as FWCS educators.

**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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