Monday, September 28, 2020

In Case You Missed It – September 28, 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.


Indiana schools chief backing Democrats

The Governor now appoints 82% of education policy-making in Indiana (the State Superintendent and eight of ten members of the State Board of Education). The general voting public has no input other than the election of the Governor. Voters in only two districts, one House and one Senate, control the rest because the leaders of the House and the Senate each appoint one member of the State Board of Education.

By their recent change in state law, the Republicans of the one-party government of Indiana have taken the public's voice out of public education.

Elections matter.

Vote for candidates for the House, Senate and the Governor's office who are supporters of PUBLIC education.

From School Matters
...McCormick can make a credible case that she didn’t desert the [Republican] party, the party deserted her. There was a time when Indiana Republicans supported public schools; at least, they supported their local public schools. The shift came in 2011, when Gov. Mitch Daniels got the GOP-controlled legislature to adopt school vouchers and expand charter schools. Today, many Hoosier Republicans have come very close to embracing the late economist Milton Friedman’s vision of a “universal” voucher program of unrestricted state support for private schools.

But McCormick, former superintendent of Indiana’s Yorktown school district, has been an outspoken advocate for public schools. Every time she spoke out for public school districts, you could see Republicans edging further away. When she announced in 2018 that she wouldn’t seek re-election, she implied that she was being elbowed aside. Legislators promptly changed the law so Indiana’s governor will appoint the state’s next chief education officer, starting in 2021.


DeVos Has No Plan

DeVos, who faces accusations of violating the Hatch Act, needs to go. She is harming public schools and children who are not selected by private schools. If you want to get rid of her, vote her administration out!

From Curmudgucation
There are so many things that DeVos could have said in an interview like this, like "We know that the disease is very scary, and as we learn more about it we are taking aggressive steps to protect students and staff so that parents can feel more secure" or "We are mobilizing all sorts of resources so that if schools decide to do distance learning, we'll back them up with technology and training, and if schools decide to open, we'll back them up with the latest guidance and with PPE and supplies to help them out" or even anything that starts with "I have a plan, and here's how it goes..."

But that's not what's happening here. There's no plan, beyond "let the parents sort it all out." Maybe we're just seeing the limits of the Federal Hands Off philosophy. Or what we're seeing is what lies at the heart of the voucher philosophy-- we want to give you some money and after that, you're on your own. After we shoot you some funds, we wash our hands of you. We want to make sure you have choices, but we will not take any steps to make sure that those choices are any good. That's your problem.


The hell that is remote learning, explained in a comic

Some parents are struggling to balance work, work from home, and helping their children with remote learning. Here's a graphic-article from a parent's point of view.

From Vox
As a parent of remote learners, here's roughly what I need to do each day: log the kids into their classes on time, take pictures of their homework and upload them to the correct portals, make sure their devices stay charged, keep them engaged in their live class sessions, help them with all of the asynchronous learning (watching videos, completing assignments, etc.), give them breaks when they start to come apart from too much Zoom school.


Teachers forced to adapt: Balance virtual instruction, socially distanced classes

This is the second in a three-day series about what it's like to teach during the coronavirus pandemic.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Zoom became a popular digital teaching assistant for one Fort Wayne area teacher, and Google Meet held promise for another.

Plexiglas dividers on tables keep students separate in a private school, and one middle school teacher began learning to live by the concept that a plan that cannot be changed is not a good plan.

The Journal Gazette asked educators throughout Allen County to share what it's been like to prepare for a school year during a pandemic.

Newer FWCS teachers feel fortunate: They're learning anew, as are senior colleagues

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
[New FWCS teacher Samara] Carroll had some pandemic-related concerns, she said, but the worries weren't enough to prevent her from applying to Bunche, where she student taught last year.

“I'm glad that this position opened up here, for sure,” Carroll said.

Although it's not easy to begin a new job during the pandemic, she said it's comforting to know experienced teachers aren't facing the status quo either.

“We're all learning new procedures together,” Carroll said.

Teachers share their challenges: COVID-19 altering routines, large and small

Here are some comments about teaching during a pandemic...from the teachers who are doing it.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
[Teachers'] answers illustrate the countless ways classrooms and teaching have changed since mid-March:

• A New Haven Intermediate School educator described the challenge of having to start the academic year teaching remotely from her kitchen because a relative tested positive for COVID-19.

• A Canterbury teacher wrote about the efforts to prevent spreading germs by keeping students and their belongings separate. Strategies are as detailed as labeling each crayon and marker with students' names.

• A Carroll High School science teacher summarized the three types of classrooms educators planned – a traditional classroom, a remote-learning classroom and a classroom supporting ill students or those quarantined.

• A Northwest Allen County Schools first grade teacher wrote about creating a classroom in her basement to prepare for leading a group of remote learners.

**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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