Monday, October 12, 2020

In Case You Missed It – October 12, 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.


South Carolina: Supreme Court Strikes Down Voucher Plan!

The state Constitution of Indiana, like South Carolina's, forbids using money "drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution" (Article 1, Section 6). Apparently, however, it doesn't really mean what it says. The state has funneled nearly a billion dollars to non-public, mostly religious, schools since the school "choice" program began in 2011.

From Diane Ravitch
The ruling was a bitter pill for conservatives in state government, who have over the years repeatedly tried to get public money allocated in various ways, including vouchers, to private schools...

The Constitution says, “No money shall be paid from public funds nor shall the credit of the State or any of its political subdivisions be used for the direct benefit of any religious or other private educational institution.”

In South Carolina, the state Constitution means what it says.


Indiana officials give flexibility on length of school days but hesitate to loosen too many rules

How do you feel about longer school days?

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana education officials will allow a handful of school systems to take an unconventional approach to the length of their school year during the pandemic.

With the changes approved Wednesday, a few districts — including Center Grove Schools and Paramount charter network in Indianapolis — can offer longer school days to take advantage of in-person learning and cut back on e-learning days to help with planning.

They will still give the same number of hours of instruction as a normal school year but don’t have to do it in the standard 180 days.

“Under the current environment, every day with our students is a gift, and we treasure each moment for student instruction,” Brown County Schools Superintendent Laura Hammack told the State Board of Education.


FWCS altering remote program: Changes being made to ensure attendance

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools will introduce revamped attendance procedures next week for remote learners, district leaders said during a virtual update Tuesday.

Changes will address inconsistent attendance practices and a lack of engagement among middle and high schoolers during the first nine weeks of the year. The second quarter begins Monday.

“Parents need to understand this is school, and students have an obligation to show up when the class is taking place,” said D. Faye Williams-Robbins, chief of student, family and community engagement.


McCormick criticizes Holcomb as she campaigns for his Democratic challenger

No one knows the issues with education in our state better than Supt. McCormick! We would be wise to listen to her before we vote!

From Chalkbeat*
“Any educator who’s probably watching this could tell you there are a lot of things we do that don’t make sense,” [Indiana State Superintendent] McCormick said. “And then we tell you how to improve upon it, but you have to have leaders who will listen. And we’ve tried to be a voice, but it is really difficult to do right now when you have the executive office of the governor, and you have the House and the Senate under supermajority, and you have a state board who is really the governor’s board.”

McCormick didn’t name specific policies that she felt were burdensome but went on to discuss the challenges of school funding, teacher retention, and pandemic instruction.

This election season, McCormick’s cross-party endorsements of several Democrats, including Myers, mark the latest chapter in years of strife between the state’s top elected education official and the governor. McCormick denounced the “toxic” behind-the-scenes politics that she blamed for encumbering her job when she announced she would not seek a second term.


Virus in schools steadily rising: Total cases in county rise to nearly 6,700

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Confirmed cases at schools continue to rise, the state virus dashboard showed in its weekly update Monday. Collectively, 944 schools reported 1,992 student cases, 406 teacher cases and 447 staff cases.

This is up from Thursday's dashboard totals of 1,676 students, 335 teachers and 343 staff members at 742 schools.

The actual number of confirmed COVID-19 cases affecting schools is likely higher given 1,067 schools haven't reported to the dashboard. School participation is voluntary.

Regionally, cases have affected 102 schools in 10 northeast Indiana counties, including 44 public and 11 non-public schools in Allen County.


Trump Has COVID. What That Means For Public Schools

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
Freedom is a wonderful thing and should be preserved as much as possible.

But your freedom ends where mine begins.

Your choice not to wear a mask in public increases the infection rate in my community. Your decision to eat in a restaurant, go to a bar or spend a weekend at an amusement park puts not just you and your family at risk, but me and mine as well.

And if you send your child to a school building in an area of moderate to high infection rates, you are increasing the likelihood that someone I care about will get sick and perhaps die.

We have both rights and responsibilities.

If you live out in the woods all by yourself, you don’t need to constrain your personal freedom. You can do whatever you can get away with.

But if you live in a community – as nearly all of us do – you have to give up some of that freedom to the rest of us.

This is simple civics – something you would have known had our schools not stopped teaching it because it wasn’t on the big annual standardized tests.


“Free to Choose: Can School Choice Reduce Student Achievement?”

From Diane Ravitch
For the past thirty years, school choice advocates have claimed that the best way to improve education was to give families public money to send their child to a private or religious school. The very fact of “privateness,” they said, meant better quality. This turns out not to be the case. Students never receive a voucher that is enough to pay for elite private schools. Typically, the voucher schools are lesser quality than the public school the child leaves, because voucher schools are not required to have certified teachers. In recent years, numerous studies show that children who leave a public school and go to a voucher school lose ground academically.

This study was published in 2018. Its findings are consistent with studies of voucher effects in the District of Columbia, Ohio, Indiana, and other states. Voucher schools are free to teach scientific nonsense and fake history. In Florida and elsewhere, they are free to discriminate against groups of people they don’t like.

*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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