Monday, September 7, 2020

In Case You Missed It – September 7, 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.


If Joe Biden becomes the new president in January, who should he choose for the position of Secretary of Education?

Who Should Biden Pick As Education Secretary?

From Peter Greene in Forbes
A couple of weeks ago, Wesley Whistle here at addressed the question “Who Might Biden Pick As Education Secretary?” There’s a worthwhile discussion to be had on that topic, but let’s talk instead about who should be Biden’s secretary of education.

Of course, he has to win first. But Joe Biden comes into the race carrying the education baggage of the Obama administration, and an announcement of a good ed secretary, even a short list, could help whip up some teacher enthusiasm. Also, it’s far more pleasant to imagine what Biden could do than to contemplate more years of Betsy DeVos in the office.

Biden pledged to appoint a “public school teacher” back in the days when all the cool Democratic kids were making the promise. Candidates make lots of promises, but for the purpose of this discussion, let’s pretend he’s going to keep this one. That’s several million possible candidates for the job. Here’s how to narrow the field.

Choose a Teacher!

From Live Long and Prosper
...knowing anything about K-12 public education has rarely, if ever, been a requirement for the job of U.S. Secretary of Education.

It's time to change that!

...Most American public school teachers know more about public education than most of the previous Secretaries of Education, and it's likely that any public school teacher in America knows more about public education than Betsy DeVos.


Public's education: Holcomb's perceived indifference should rile voters

Beginning in 2021, Indiana's State Superintendent of Public Instruction will be appointed by the Governor. This means that the Governor will appoint 9 of the 11 members of the Indiana State Board of Education. We can blame the legislature for this. In 2012, Democrat Glenda Ritz unseated Republican Tony Bennett as State Superintendent and that angered the Republican leadership in the General Assembly. Since Indiana's gerrymandered electorate has provided for more than a dozen years of Republican single party rule, the legislature decided that it should not be up to the people to decide to elect a public education advocate to run the Indiana DOE.

Governor Holcomb has ignored public education advocates.

Elections matter. Support public education candidates for the state legislature as well as the governor's office.

Check out the Legislative Report Card from the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, here.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Indiana faces countless challenges in recovering from the pandemic. Perhaps none is more important than how the state addresses its public schools. In addition to educating almost 89% of Indiana students, public schools are a foundation of our American ideals: They offer equal opportunity and access to learning. They prepare students for citizenship. They create a rare unifying experience in a rapidly splintering nation.

The Indiana Coalition for Public Education, whose members advocate for equitable, well-funded public schools accountable to democratic oversight in their communities, invited Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and Democratic challenger Dr. Woody Myers to share their views at a virtual annual meeting Saturday.

The governor did not participate. Myers, the former Indiana state health commissioner, gave a full-throated endorsement of public schools.


ISTA Statement on State Board Proposal to Change School Count Date

From the Indiana State Teachers Association
While there is no perfect solution, we believe the proposal before the State Board to essentially hold schools harmless, based on whether a student was being taught virtually or in person prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, offers the best plan going forward. We also support the proposed changes that ensure our public schools using any form of virtual learning during the pandemic rightfully receive full funding. Finally, the proposal does not require altering the timing of collective bargaining, providing much needed clarity for our local associations.


Our past and our future: Electric Works would be a link in city's tradition of education

From Wendy Robinson in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne has always been a city that takes our destiny into our own hands.

When tough times come, we don't sit by and wait for someone to save us. We excel at taking lemons and turning them into lemonade.

When other Midwestern cities were losing manufacturing jobs and becoming another notch on the country's Rust Belt, Fort Wayne sought out new businesses in diverse industries. This helped us not only recover in the 1980s but poised the region for continued economic growth for the following decades.

When a flood ravaged the city in 1982, not only did we recover and use the opportunity to improve the city's flood mitigation, we developed a magnificent downtown attraction in Headwaters Park.

As other urban centers watched as residents moved to the suburbs, leaving neighborhoods and schools to fall into decay, Fort Wayne continued to support its public schools. Through strong partnerships that support students and the passage of three building referendums to keep neighborhood anchors in place, Fort Wayne Community Schools remains a vibrant school corporation with rigorous educational programs preparing students to be the next leaders in our region.

That is why it is shocking that as a city we are on the brink of losing the most exciting economic development opportunity since Harrison Square catapulted our downtown revitalization.


FWCS board may consider re-revision of public comment rules

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Along with everything else these COVID-colored days, Fort Wayne Community Schools board meetings continue to be far from ordinary, with social distancing and masked participants. Board member Tom Smith raised the possibility this week of making another change: allowing public comments before board meetings are adjourned.

“Over the past month or so, I've had a number of people email me about an issue they don't understand or would like to know more about, and that it is the board's policy of holding off public comment until after our meeting is adjourned,” Smith said Monday, noting the cable TV and online broadcasts end before those comments are heard.

“They ask me, 'Why is that?' And I tell them I really don't know – that happened before my term on the board,” Smith said. “But I think that's a really important discussion and I think this board should review that policy from time to time.”

He asked for the issue to be placed on the agenda for the next board meeting.

**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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