Monday, November 16, 2020

In Case You Missed It – November 16, 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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Covid-19 Has Eroded My Faith in Public Schools

A teacher talks about trust after the pandemic.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
I am a public school advocate.

I teach at a public school.

My daughter goes to a public school.

I have spent most of my professional career fighting for public schools against every form of school privatization imaginable.

But since the beginning of this school year and the incredibly reckless way many public schools have dealt with reopening and keeping students and staff safe, I feel much of that enthusiasm drying up.

It’s not something I’m proud of feeling.

I’m actually kind of embarrassed about it.

But there are so many people I will never be able to look at the same way ever again.


Officials assure schools are safe: Cite off-campus cases; NACS grades 6-12 going remote

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Despite rising coronavirus case numbers – including 400 new cases Thursday in Allen County – the risk of catching the virus at schools remains low, local health officials said.

“We are not currently seeing a lot of transmission within schools,” said Megan Hubartt, Allen County Department of Health spokeswoman.

“In fact, schools seem to be one of the safest places for kids to be right now because the districts have done such a great job working to ensure preventative measures like masking and physical distancing are being consistently followed in their facilities,” she said in an email.

Local health officials are seeing transmission in some sports settings, however, Hubartt added.

And some schools continue to make adjustments due to the coronavirus.


What Biden’s new education transition team tells us about his agenda — and what it doesn’t

A new president will bring new national education policies. What to expect...

From the Answer Sheet
Some progressives are worried that the list of members is heavy with former members of the Obama administration, whose controversial education policies ultimately alienated teachers’ unions, parents and members of Congress from both major political parties. Some conservatives are concerned that four of the team’s members come from national teachers’ unions. And others wonder what it means that Biden chose Linda Darling-Hammond — the first Black woman to serve as president of the California Board of Education and an expert on educational equity and teacher quality — to lead the team.

When it comes to policy, such concerns are probably misplaced. This transition team is not charged with writing big policy papers or selecting a new education secretary. The campaign set Biden’s education agenda, and there is a separate, smaller committee working on domestic policy.

Let The Disappointment With Biden's Ed Department Begin

From Curmudgucation
If you have been holding your breath, waiting and worrying about whether or not Biden is going to take us back to the days of education under Obama--well, there's not a lot here to set your mind at ease. It is probably best to hold judgment and wait to see what they come up with, who the new secretary will be, what actual policies are going to be supported by the new administration. This week's news is just another reminder that just because Betsy DeVos is on her way out doesn't mean public ed supporters can stop being vigilant. For what it's worth, these people are volunteering to do a difficult job that is even more difficult than usual given the mess being created by President Hissy Fit, and for that, they do deserve some thanks. And it's hugely unlikely that we won't end up in a better place than we are now. In the meantime, you can choose to be either disappointed or hopeful, depending on how you're inclined. Whatever your inclination, keep both eyes open.

On COVID and schools, President-elect Biden has promised a different approach

From Chalkbeat*
For the last several months, President Donald Trump has had a simple message for schools: reopen your buildings.

President-elect Joe Biden has a more complicated one: the federal government is on the way with better guidance and — hopefully — money, but no mandates.

“Schools need clear, consistent, effective national guidelines, not mixed messages and political ultimatums,” the Biden campaign plan for reopening schools says.

The race has been called, and the incoming Biden administration is set to inherit a country still struggling with the coronavirus pandemic. Though more schools are reopening their doors, COVID cases are still rising. Schools will still be grappling with exactly how to balance public health and education concerns for months to come.


Montana Teacher: Try to Understand Rural Voters

A teacher from Montana asks that you try to understand her red state neighbors.

From Diane Ravitch
I am sitting in the middle of a bunch of RED STATES right now. In fact, Montana went completely red after years of a Democratic governorship and other Democratic officials. It is a sad, sad day for us. Our beautiful public lands will be desecrated and potentially sold off. We don’t have charter schools yet, but we will. A sad, sad day.

But here is the deal: Not all Republicans are racist. And by calling them that, we stop all conversation with them. To understand why they vote the way they do, we must listen. To win in the elections, as Democrats, we must understand our opponents who, actually, are our neighbors.

Many Republicans certainly are racist. But if you analyze the U.S. voting map, the main difference between blue and red states is the URBAN/ RURAL difference. So when people say Republicans are racist, they are indirectly saying that RURAL people are racist. That is a generalization.


Betsy DeVos Will Be Leaving. Prepare To Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Be happy- but be wary!

From Curmudgucation
DeVos is almost certainly not going away. She has devoted her entire adult life to the pursuit of privatized, Christianized education, to a system that aids the Betters and keeps the Lessers in their proper place, to a world in which the wealthy can hold onto their well-deserved piles of money without having to use any of it to pay for nice things for Those People. She is not going to stop now.

She is far more experienced and suited to the life of a billionaire political operative than that of a government bureaucrat. That is what she knows how to do (hell, Secretary of Education is the only actual job she's ever had). In some ways, she did more damage as a private citizen then a government functionary. Ask any education advocate from Michigan--the DeVos family has mastered the art of checkbook advocacy, of backing politicians who will do their bidding and threatening those that won't...

*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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