Monday, December 14, 2020

In Case You Missed It – December 14, 2020

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on 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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Teresa Thayer Snyder: What Shall We Do About the Children After the Pandemic

Look at any article about education during the pandemic and you'll likely see a reference to how kids are "falling behind." Diane Ravitch's guest blogger asks, "falling behind what?"

From Diane Ravitch
I am writing today about the children of this pandemic. After a lifetime of working among the young, I feel compelled to address the concerns that are being expressed by so many of my peers about the deficits the children will demonstrate when they finally return to school. My goodness, what a disconcerting thing to be concerned about in the face of a pandemic which is affecting millions of people around the country and the world. It speaks to one of my biggest fears for the children when they return. In our determination to “catch them up,” I fear that we will lose who they are and what they have learned during this unprecedented era. What on earth are we trying to catch them up on? The models no longer apply, the benchmarks are no longer valid, the trend analyses have been interrupted. We must not forget that those arbitrary measures were established by people, not ordained by God. We can make those invalid measures as obsolete as a crank up telephone! They simply do not apply.

Survey: During Pandemic, Teachers Are Working More And Enjoying It Less

The results from the Horace Mann survey are worth checking out. 

From Peter Greene in Forbes
The greatest number of teachers in the survey were working in person (497) while 319 were teaching online and 379 were working in a hybrid model. But a full 924 (77%) of respondents said that work was taking more time this year than last year, with only 52 (4.3%) saying they were spending less time teaching this year. This may come as a surprise to some critics; on Twitter, one poster called the current situation a “de facto teacher strike,” as if teachers are not doing any actual work currently. In fact, preparing lessons to be delivered through a variety of pipelines requires extra preparation.

When asked if they were enjoying their work in education more or less now than they did last year, 113 (9.7%) said they are enjoying it more, while 698 (60%) said less. This is not entirely a surprise; google “teachers frustrated by remote learning” and read accounts from all over the country of teacher (and parent) frustration with pandemic education.

FWCS Lincoln Elementary goes virtual until January

Due to a significant number of staff absences, all Lincoln Elementary School students will work remotely Dec. 10-17, Fort Wayne Community Schools announced Tuesday.

FWCS said that students will attend in-person on Wednesday and will bring home electronic devices and other supplies needed for at-home learning.

Students are expected to return to the classroom after winter break, Jan. 4.


Mrs. Gates Still Doesn't Get It, Still.

Bill and Melinda Gates still don’t seem to understand that their meddling in education has caused harm.

From Curmudgucation
You know, if Bill and I had had more decision-making authority in education, maybe we would’ve gotten farther in the United States. But we haven’t. Some of the things that we piloted or tried got rejected, or didn’t work, and I think there’s a very healthy ecosystem of parents and teachers’ unions and mayors and city councils that make those education decisions. I wish the U.S. school system was better for all kids.
Yikes. I mean, yikes. First of all, it's not "some of the things"-- all of the things that the Gates have tried in education, from small schools to the Common Core, have failed. Yes, they got rejected, in the same way the average person rejects stewed liver covered with toad wart dressing--they were bad. (And lets not forget that sometimes, rather than being rejected, the Gates just walked out on projects in the middle, leaving someone else holding the bag.) And whatever their many problems were, the biggest problem was not that Bill and Melinda Gates didn't have enough power over the system. Note also that her "very healthy ecosystem" includes pretty much everybody. If everyone else had just let the Gates be in charge, it would have been fine! Yikes. After all this time, all this money, and all this failure, she still doesn't understand that when it comes to education, they are amateurs who don't know enough about how education works and who don't bother to talk to actual experts (without checking to make sure they're sympathetic and then handing them a big pile of money first, which tends to blunt the critical faculties --looking at you NEA and AFT).


Jeff Bryant: What Is Worse Than DeVos?

This post from Diane Ravitch includes information about outside money thrown into the Indianapolis School Board race...

From Diane Ravitch
In the 2020 school board election in Indianapolis, local teachers and grassroots groups the Indiana Coalition for Public Education and the IPS Community Coalition backed four candidates against a slate of opponents whom locals accuse of representing outside interests. At stake, according to WFYI, was “an ideological tilt” over whether the district would continue to “collaborate with outside groups and charter organizations” or “return to more traditional methods of improving struggling schools.”

Both sides raise the banner of “improving struggling schools,” but locals say what’s really at stake is whether voters retain democratic control of their public schools or see them turned over to private, unelected boards and their corporate supporters and funders.

Oklahoma: Governor Stitt Appoints Home-Schooling Anti-Masker to State Board of Education

Local school boards are elected. Why aren't all state school boards? In Indiana, the governor appoints 9 of the 11 school board members. The other two are selected by the leaders of the legislative houses. The only voice Indiana voters have in state-wide public education policy is in the election of the governor.

From Diane Ravitch
Kurt Bollenbach of Kingfisher, who was appointed in April 2019 to serve a four-year term, recently supported a high-profile move to claw back more than $11 million in state funding from Epic Charter Schools and a failed attempt to mandate masks in all public schools.

He also recently drew public criticism from school choice advocates for leading a delay of approval for a couple of private schools to begin accepting state-funded scholarships for disabled students and foster children over questions about whether the schools’ anti-discrimination policies met minimum state and federal requirements.

Stitt replaced Bollenbach by appointing a home-schooling parent who opposes mask-wearing during the pandemic to the State Board of Education.

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