Monday, October 5, 2020

In Case You Missed It – October 5, 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.


To woo home-schoolers, a new Indiana virtual school offers $1,700 stipends

Publicly supported charter schools have opened the flood gates for grifters to grab more public funds.

From Chalkbeat*
...a new K-6 public virtual school, called Tech Trep Academy, that caters to home-schoolers. Families have the flexibility to teach their children however they wish because the school doesn’t require students to take traditional classes or complete homework. Officials assume students are in attendance unless a parent says otherwise.

But unlike traditional home schooling, Tech Trep is publicly funded.

Within weeks of launching, it’s come under scrutiny for wooing families with dollars, which state education officials say could be an illegal enrollment incentive. The state will pay more than $860,000 toward Tech Trep this school year with scant assurance that the money will be spent on education. The Middlebury Community Schools district is overseeing the school and stands to gain nearly $1,000 in state funding for each student it enrolls.


FWCS gets no public comments: $309.5 million budget plan a 1% increase on last year's

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The public kept silent Monday on Fort Wayne Community Schools' proposed $309.5 million spending plan that could result in a 2% property tax rate increase.

Nobody in the socially distanced, downtown audience offered feedback during the school board's public hearing, nor did anyone submit comments or questions virtually during the meeting's livestream.

Presented Sept. 14, the proposed 2021 budget is 1% more than the current $305 million budget. The board is expected to approve the plan Oct. 12.


Indiana governor hopeful Woody Myers would overhaul school funding, scrutinize charters

Myers supports the state's public schools, so why hasn't the Indiana State Teachers Association endorsed him? Perhaps ISTA is hedging their bets because the Republican Governor, Holcomb, is leading by double digits. Would Holcomb give ISTA a voice in his choice for state Secretary of Education or will he follow the recent history of Republicans in Indiana and work against public schools for the benefit of privatization?

From Chalkbeat*
Myers and running mate Linda Lawson, a former state representative, are emphasizing education as a key component of their ticket, playing to those who may be disgruntled with Indiana’s education reform movement that embraced school choice and accountability measures such as standardized testing, teacher evaluations, and school letter grades.

Myers also favors a more cautious approach to reopening school buildings during the coronavirus pandemic.

He picked up endorsements from Republican Superintendent Jennifer McCormick and the American Federation of Teachers Indiana but failed to win support from the Indiana State Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union.

Seeking re-election, Holcomb highlights progress on teacher pay — and what comes next

There has been little progress in Indiana teacher pay, despite what Governor Holcomb claims. His administration has stalled any decision about teacher pay and now, due to the pandemic, there is going to be less money for schools.

From Chalkbeat*
...Holcomb has also been criticized by Indiana teachers, who turned out in record numbers last year at a Statehouse rally to pressure lawmakers to take action on teacher pay, standardized testing, and school funding. While Holcomb has promised to study the teacher pay issue and have experts bring policy suggestions, he hasn’t yet delivered the results. One of his promises to raise teacher pay in the future may no longer be financially viable in a pandemic economy.

And Holcomb, who has spent his career working for Indiana’s GOP, appeared to have a strained relationship with fellow Republican Jennifer McCormick, the state’s education leader who has advocated for teachers. In a splashy move last week, McCormick crossed party lines to support Holcomb’s opponent in the governor’s race.


Indiana officials report nearly 1,900 cases of COVID-19 in schools

From Chalkbeat*
The soon-to-be released dashboard will show new and total school COVID-19 positive cases among students, teachers, and staff. If a school has fewer than five cases among students, the state will suppress the information to protect confidentiality.

Because the numbers cover just one period, “it is not possible to identify any trends from the currently available data,” said Jennifer O’Malley, state Department of Health spokeswoman, said.

On the dashboard, the public will be able to filter data by school district and see a map of schools with cases.


US Ed Secretary DeVos wants to give public money from the CARES act to private schools. The courts have, so far, prevented the attempt at redirecting the funds.

DeVos Loses Fight to Split Public School CARES $$ with Private Schools

From Diane Ravitch
Betsy DeVos lost the biggest fight of her tenure as Secretary of Education. Federal judges consistently rejected her legally binding rule requiring states to give private schools a share of the $13 billion Congress allocated for public schools and for needy students in private schools. DeVos wanted private schools to get a share of the federal money without regard to the need of their students. The judges said no.

GA: State Super Wood Outmaneuvers DeVos

From Curmudgucation
“Georgia will abide by federal law, but we are not going to layer additional stress and burden onto our students and teachers during this time,” Woods said in a statement Thursday. “In this environment, these tests are not valid or reliable measures of academic progress or achievement, and we are taking all possible steps at the state level to reduce their high-stakes impact.”
It's an elegant solution to a problem that shouldn't exist. The Georgia Education Association applauds the move favoring "compassion over compliance," and hopes that the Governor likewise suspends teacher evaluations (teacher evaluations based on a test that has zero student consequences are baloney). GeorgiaCAN, the state's arm of the ed reform octopus sticks to the talking point that these tests are really necessary for finding out where students stand and what they've lost because a once-a-year narrow standardized test is so much better for that than the professional tools and judgment of actual classroom teachers.

*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


No comments: