Monday, November 23, 2020

In Case You Missed It – November 23, 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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'Unsustainable and unsafe': ISTA calls for schools in red counties to move online

From IndyStar
The Indiana State Teachers Association is calling for schools in counties hardest hit by COVID-19 to return to virtual learning.

The state’s largest teachers’ union issued a statement Friday, urging local school districts to adhere to state recommendations for school operations and for state officials to require compliance. So far, the state has not forced schools to follow guidance for when to limit or pause in-person instruction.

“This situation is unsustainable and unsafe,” said ISTA president Keith Gambill. “If your county is red, ISTA recommends districts move immediately to virtual learning for all students.”


Indiana teachers union calls on lawmakers to expand bargaining rights amid COVID

It would be nice if our legislators decided to care about and listen to teachers.

From Chalkbeat*
At a time when educators’ jobs have become more difficult because of the pandemic, Indiana’s largest teachers union is calling on lawmakers to restore the right to bargain over working conditions, such as hours, prep time, and class sizes.

The Indiana State Teachers Association, which represents nearly 40,000 educators, said that some districts are deciding how to respond to the coronavirus without substantive input from educators. If unions had the right to bargain for better working conditions, more teachers would have a voice in those decisions.

“The right to come together to negotiate the terms of our work allows us to create better learning conditions for our students and better workplaces for ourselves and those who will follow us as educators in the future,” ISTA President Keith Gambill said at a union press conference Monday ahead of the start of the legislative session.


Johann Neem: Restoring the Promise of Public Education

From Diane Ravitch
The last four years have taught us just how fractured America is. After a decisive but divisive election, President-elect Joseph Biden now begins the most difficult work ever: trying to weave back together a social fabric that has, after years of neglect, come unraveled. Biden has promised “to restore the soul of America.” At the heart of his vision must be a reinvigorated and renewed commitment to the democratic purposes of public education.

To restore the soul of America, we need to restore the soul of our schools. This means being committed to public schools as sites of integration, where students learn in common, equally, in the same classrooms. This means rejecting the privatization agenda of choice and vouchers, where the logic of the market instead of the commons dominates. It means remembering that public schools are not just serving individuals or families, as our current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos argues, but all of us. It means finding real solutions to the ways in which residential segregation divides us by race and family wealth. Our public schools today reflect our divided soul, with whiter and richer Americans segregating themselves into exclusive neighborhoods with their own schools. All Americans must go to school together.


Laura Chapman Reviews the Biden Transition Team for Education

From Diane Ravitch
...Our reader, retired arts educator Laura Chapman, reviewed the members of the education transition team...
I have looked into the biographies of Biden’s 20 experts in education – entries from LinkedIn, their current organizations, and less often Wikipedia.

Of these
15 have no documented Pre-k to12 teaching experience.
14 held positions in Obama’s administration with nine of these in the US Department of Education (USDE). Two worked at USDE before Obama.
10 are lawyers.
7 have supported charter schools...
Also lurking here are Billionaire supporters of failed educational reforms.


Katie Jenner named Indiana’s first education secretary, replacing McCormick

Will Indiana’s new appointed Secretary of Education be pro- PUBLIC education?

From Chalkbeat*
Katie Jenner will serve as Indiana’s first appointed education secretary, the beginning of a new era for a state where the top education official has been elected and often vocally independent.

Her appointment was announced Thursday by Holcomb’s office.

An adviser to Gov. Eric Holcomb, Jenner formerly served as a vice president at Ivy Tech Community College. Jenner has experience in school administration as an assistant principal and assistant superintendent in Madison Consolidated Schools in southern Indiana. Jenner is also on the governor’s commission tasked with making recommendations for how to improve teacher salaries.


Indiana's schools see 38% rise in new cases

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Indiana K-12 schools reported a 38% increase in COVID-19 cases in the past week, and LaGrange County is leading the state in positivity, according to Monday's updated state coronavirus numbers.

More than 3,300 new COVID-19 cases hit Indiana schools – bringing the total to 11,873. Of that, 8,217 are students and the rest are teachers and staff. The state's school dashboard updates on Mondays.

East Allen County Schools announced Monday an influx of confirmed COVID-19 cases is prompting a switch to virtual learning for grades seven through 12 beginning Wednesday.

...Northwest and Southwest Allen County schools announced similar moves last week.


Middle school teams to resume: FWCS leaders recognize social activities' importance

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
school, so he was sympathetic when parents voiced dissatisfaction about reduced offerings this fall at Fort Wayne middle schools.

The Fort Wayne Community Schools leader even shared an encouraging update last month – middle school sports should resume with basketball season.

Academic teams, including Spell Bowl and Math Bowl, also should start second semester, adding to the middle school clubs and intramural sports already taking place.

Daniel described athletics, performing arts and clubs as essential.

*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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