Monday, September 13, 2021

In Case You Missed It – September 13, 2021

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. 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 new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.
THIS WEEK

Two Allen County school systems, NACS and EACS, have decided to ignore the science (and their respective educational leaders) and stay mask "optional." See this article for information on masks in school, from last week's In Case You Missed It.

We also have articles about former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who wants to increase class sizes for "the best" teachers, and the continued privatization of America's public schools.

FORT WAYNE AREA SCHOOLS -- SPLIT ON MASKS

2 districts turn down masking mandates: Emotions high as EACS, SACS boards defy leaders

Bowing to threats of pressure from vocal anti-mask patrons, the school boards of East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools have chosen to ignore the science and risk COVID-19 outbreaks among their students and staff.

The two other public school systems in Allen County -- Fort Wayne Community Schools and Northwest Allen County Schools -- are currently under mask mandates.

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Masks remain optional in two Allen County districts despite superintendents' efforts Tuesday to reinstate mandates.

The proposals at East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools were in reaction to Gov. Eric Holcomb's action last week that loosened quarantine rules for symptom-free students, teachers and staff in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case – but only if schools mandated masks.

SACS board's authority disputed: County health leader: Can't alter state quarantine rules

The Governor released new rules earlier this month to incentivize masking. Southwest Allen County Schools has tried to manipulate those rules without invoking a mask mandate.

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Southwest Allen County Schools board does not have the authority to create less stringent quarantine rules than the state, the county's highest public health official said Wednesday.

Dr. Matthew Sutter, the Allen County health commissioner, was reacting to the five-member board's decision Tuesday to adjust quarantine rules while maintaining a mask-recommended policy. In a 4-1 vote, the board agreed close contacts won't have to quarantine if both the exposed person and infected person were wearing masks during the exposure.

“Since the quarantine rules are set at the state level, neither the local school boards nor local health departments have the authority to create less stringent rules than the state,” Sutter said in a statement. “We are actively engaged in discussions on this issue and will continue to work toward consistency in following state requirements.”
ARNE DUNCAN TALKS ABOUT EDUCATION

Arne Duncan and Pedagogical Badger Hats

Arne is still “at it.” This time he's on TV touting a plan to have "the best teachers" -- the "Albert Einstein algebra teachers," for example -- teach 10s or 100s of thousands of students virtually. Class time with a real person, apparently a lower-paid, non-Albert Einstein-type person, would be used for tutorials and small groups. This, Curmudgucation (aka Peter Greene) says, is a dumb idea. "It's not a new idea--reformsters have dreamed of this world where we pay fewer teachers to teach more students."

The rest of this piece is a must-read. Duncan and Zakaria, two non-educators with no teaching experience, talking about how to teach during "normal" times would be bad enough. During these more difficult-for-students-and-teachers-to-cope times, it's ridiculous.

From Curmudgucation
Arne Duncan was at it again, popping up on Fareed Zakaria's CNN show to talk about post-covid education (looking kind of Herman Munster-ish on his Zoom screen).

Much of his shtick was predictable. Students are months behind (which actually means, of course, scores on the Big Standardized Test are down, we think). We have to meet their social emotional needs, as we accelerate learning (just, you know, teach faster, because teachers have been holding back all these years).

Zakaria says/asks, the "digital economy" did awesome in most sectors, but in education learning-through-a-screen didn't really deliver. Howcum?

DISRUPTION THROUGH VOUCHERS -- NEW HAMPSHIRE

New Hampshire: Republicans Laud New Voucher Program While Ignoring International Evidence

New Hampshire's new voucher program is part of a "Shock-Doctrine-esque" privatization increase brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic including a substantial increase in Indiana's "investment" in private schools*. "Disaster Capitalism" is playing out as we watch.

From Diane Ravitch
Jeanne Diestch, a former Democratic state senator in New Hampshire, recently wrote about the attention showered on the state’s new voucher program by Republican conservatives like Mike Pompeo, a likely Presidential candidate, and Betsy DeVos. Republicans took control of the New Hampshire legislature until 2020; its Governor, Chris Sununu, is a Republican, and he appointed the state’s commissioner of education, Frank Edelblut, who homeschooled his children. Republicans wasted no time in passing a sweeping voucher bill.

US Conservatives Eyeing NH Vouchers

Diestch wrote in her newsletter...

*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 fortwayne.com/subscriptions/

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

In Case You Missed It – September 7, 2021

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. 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 new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.
THIS WEEK

The fights about the pandemic and masks are still going on. Truthfully, it sounds suspiciously like the "Am not! Are too!" arguments on the third-grade playground.

Mask supporters say the science is in and it is clear that masks help to stop the spread of COVID-19. Those who deny the efficacy of masks do so because they don't believe the government or the science community. Fortunately, the vast majority of Americans support mask-wearing. Meanwhile, the anti-mask state of Texas leads the country in child COVID deaths with 59.

GETTING SCIENCE WRONG

Research Finds Masks Can Prevent COVID-19 Transmission in Schools

Here's the science. Believe it.

From Duke Today, a hub for news produced around Duke University
The widespread use of masks in schools can effectively prevent COVID-19 transmission and provide a safe learning environment, two Duke scholars said Wednesday.

Danny Benjamin, M.D., and Kanecia Zimmerman, M.D., were co-chairs of the Duke-led ABC Science Collaborative, which issued a new report Wednesday showing that North Carolina schools were highly successful in preventing the transmission of COVID-19 within school buildings.

The report found in part that masks effectively prevented COVID-19 transmission even without physical distancing in schools and on buses.

Benjamin and Zimmerman spoke to reporters Wednesday in a virtual media briefing. Watch the briefing on YouTube. Read a news story about the collaborative's findings on Duke Health's website.

Quarantine rules eased by governor

Governor Holcomb has provided an incentive to school boards to use mask mandates to keep schools open. That way, local school board members get the threats from crazy anti-maskers instead of the governor.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday loosened quarantine rules for symptom-free students, teachers and staff in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case – but only if schools mandate masks.

The new approach provides a key incentive to districts struggling with the mask question while also not being a mandate. Fort Wayne Community Schools and Northwest Allen County Schools have mask requirements while East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools have mask-optional policies.

Holcomb issued a new executive order running through September, and the Indiana Department of Health also issued a COVID-19 control measure. It says schools and day cares with mask requirements “consistently followed throughout the day” do not have to quarantine students, teachers and staff who are close contacts and aren't showing COVID-19 symptoms.

NACS reinstates mask mandate

Northwest Allen County Schools fights back against the minority who want to threaten students (and their families) with COVID-19. It was ugly.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
An unruly audience on Monday criticized the three school board members who voted to reinstate Northwest Allen County Schools' mask mandate. The requirement takes effect Wednesday.

“Revote! Revote! Revote!” mask mandate opponents chanted after two hours of public comment.

Member Steve Bartkus, who opposed the mandate along with President Kent Somers, was game.

“Let's just revote then,” Bartkus said to cheers.

His attempts to rescind the measure supported by Vice President Liz Hathaway and members Kristi Schlatter and Ron Felger weren't successful.

...Dr. Matthew Sutter, the Allen County health commissioner, issued an advisory last week encouraging school boards to revise optional masking policies. He recommended universal masking in K-12 schools.

Some Indiana schools aren’t reporting COVID cases as pediatric hospitalizations spike

So if we don't report any COVID cases does that mean we don't have any?

From Chalkbeat*
More than 1,200 of Indiana’s nearly 2,200 schools are not reporting their COVID-19 cases to the state this school year, health officials said Friday, as positivity rates and hospitalizations for children rise across the state.

In a news conference, State Health Commissioner Kris Box emphasized that these schools are out of compliance with Indiana code, which requires institutions like schools to report cases of COVID-19 in group settings.

This helps the state determine the number of students who need to be quarantined in order to reduce transmission of the disease.

GETTING HISTORY WRONG

We know just enough history to get it wrong

Diane Ravitch reprised this post by Steve Hinnefeld. She commented, "Frankly, it’s astonishing to hear enemies of public health compare themselves to courageous fighters for justice and equality."

From School Matters
At a central Indiana school board meeting last week, an anti-mask parent said, “This is our Martin Luther King moment to say no,” a reporter tweeted. It wasn’t clear what he meant, but it seems unlikely King would have downplayed the seriousness of a virus that’s hit Black Americans especially hard.

At the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, King famously talked about his dream that someday his children would “not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Today, Republican legislators – in Texas and elsewhere – twist those words to try to prevent students from learning hard truths about America’s racial history, which they label “critical race theory.” They say that teaching about race is “divisive” and could make white children uncomfortable.

But Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t the person they make him out to have been. He engaged in repeated acts of nonviolent civil disobedience and was jailed 29 times. He spoke out against racism, poverty and violence. Three-fourths of the American public disapproved of him, especially after he brought his anti-racism campaign to the North and began speaking against the Vietnam War.
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

PA: The CRT Flap Continues To Metastasize

While the COVID-19 mask wars are going on, there's still the problem of the people who don't want to acknowledge the history of America. As Peter Greene shows in this Curmudgucation piece, school boards are hoping to soon be able to ban the teaching of anything they don't like.

From Curmudgucation
Clarion County, despite containing a state university, is a mighty conservative place. Back in March, the County Commissioners, for no particular reason, declared themselves a "Second Amendment County." Now, one of the county's school districts has let itself get played by the "critical race theory" flap.

Parents showed up to complain about the possibility of that race stuff sneaking into schools, supporting the board's newly-minted policy. The policy follows the usual template, borrowing language that is being used in these policies all across the country, such as
The teaching concepts which impute fault, blame, a tendency to oppress others, or the need to feel guilt or anguish for persons solely because of their skin color, race, sex, or religion are prohibited in the district as such concepts violate the principles of individual rights, equal opportunity, and individual merit underpinning our constitutional republic and therefore have no place in training for administrators, teachers, or other employees of the district
That same language was adopted by the Mars School District, located just a bit north of Pittsburgh (and in California, and Alabama, and so on...). While the basic policy seems to be getting copied and pasted all across the US, folks feel free to add some details as well. In Mars, there was an addition of patriotic patriotism ("We will teach our children to honor America..."

Because these policies also come with a built-in "This is totally not saying that teachers can't teach controversial stuff, but only, you know, factual stuff and only all sides presented," there's also a list of Stuff That Can't Be Taught.
Further, this policy shall ensure that Social Justice and unsubstantiated theories of any kind, including but not limited to Holocaust Denial Theory, 9/11 Theory, The 1610 Project, and Critical Race Theory, are not advocated or presented to students as part of any curriculum unless approved in advance by the board.

LEFTOVERS FROM LAST WEEK - GETTING TESTING WRONG

While colleges go test-optional, Indiana juniors prepare for a new SAT requirement

What constitutes a high enough score on the SAT for a student to graduate from high school? We don't know that information because passing scores -- cut scores which are arbitrary -- haven't been "determined" yet.

Tests do not represent what students have achieved in high school. Tests are a reflection of a student's family background more than their achievement. Colleges around the country are finally beginning to understand how tests are poor instruments in determining school success. Indiana should, too.

From Chalkbeat*
Under the new graduation framework, the state will meet its federal accountability requirements through the SAT, chosen for its utility to college-bound students, according to the architect of the changes, Rep. Bob Behning.

But students who don’t meet the still-undetermined benchmarks have other pathways to graduation, such as completing an approved apprenticeship or demonstrating proficiency on a military aptitude test.

The state Department of Education will determine passing score rates — or cut scores – next summer.

Preparations are already underway for students and teachers ahead of the March test date in schools and through a bootcamp run by Purdue University’s GEAR UP, a federally funded program designed to provide students a path to college.

The latter offered a bootcamp to about 500 Indiana teachers last month to train them to prepare students for the test.

*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 fortwayne.com/subscriptions/

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Saturday, September 4, 2021

Labor Day 2021

Due to the Labor Day Holiday, In Case You Missed It will be delayed by one day. See you on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in Public Education news.

Be sure to enter your email address in the new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.


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Monday, August 30, 2021

In Case You Missed It – August 30, 2021

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. 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 new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.
Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels
THIS WEEK

Number one this week is still the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on local and national schools. We also include articles on privatization and vouchers, testing, a new program that FWCS is exploring, and how school reform is changing.

Thank you for your support of public education.

CAN SCHOOLS STAY OPEN?

‘I’m worried about our schools’ ability to stay open’: Allen County health commissioner

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is having an impact locally and around the state, and it is affecting children.

From WPTA21.com
In the past month, more children have been infected with the coronavirus and some are hospitalized here, Dr. Sutter said.

Sutter says hospitals in northeast Indiana are strained, not overwhelmed, but says if the trend continues, they certainly could be.

He says if hospitals do get overwhelmed, that's when he would consider issuing new restrictions or mandates.

"I don't have a hard number at which I would write a public health order, and again, any public health order that I write has to be approved by the county commissioners," he said.

He says over the past month, more children have been infected with the coronavirus and some are hospitalized here.

Reader: Parents Do Not Have the “Right” to Opt-Out of Public Health Measures

A reader of Diane Ravitch's blog comments on the responsibility we all have in society. We're all in this together.

From Diane Ravitch
I wear a mask for the same reason I drive on the correct side of the freeway. I wear a mask for the same reason I drive on the road instead of on the sidewalk. I wear a mask because it helps protect my young grandson who has a heart condition and lives in my home. I wear a mask because it is the right and intelligent thing to do.

No one has the right to put the lives of others at risk by not masking up or being vaccinated.

The Battle Against Reality and Science Intensifies
From Diane Ravitch
Yet, there are millions of people who refuse to be vaccinated and who vigorously protest any effort to mandate masks or vaccinations. They try to intimidate those who disagree with them, and even when they are a minority, they often succeed by their bullying tactics. Even when they are a majority, should their right to be free of masks and vaccinations take precedence over the rights of other parents who want their children to be safe from a deadly virus? I think not.
SCHOOL-BUSINESS COLLABORATION

FWCS looks into program

Fort Wayne Community Schools is considering starting a program that brings collaboration between the business community and local secondary schools.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Jack Harris, 3DE president and CEO, joined the board meeting via video conference to explain the basics.

Generally, he said, students in grades nine through 11 are given a real-world business problem written by a local or national business partner every five weeks. Students work in small groups to research and analyze the challenge and present their solution to the company.

Using this learning method makes lessons more relevant and engaging for students, officials said.

Yarian provided this hypothetical example: Sweetwater wants a new distribution center in Thailand, Britain or Sweden. Students would evaluate the countries' potential based on factors such as their social and political environment and distribution costs, she said.

“Every subject matter has a piece of the pie,” Yarian said.

Students in 12th grade get an experience akin to an internship, Harris said.

CONTINUED PRIVATIZATION AMIDST THE END OF SCHOOL REFORM

Jeb Bush Gets It Wrong

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush hasn't given up on his dream of privatizing all public education. In this piece, Peter Green shows the anti-teacher aspect of Bush's proposals, his deep misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about what actually goes on in a 21st-century American school, and his misinformation about charter schools.

From Peter Greene at Curmudgucation
Earlier this month, Jeb Bush released an op-ed to argue against "cuts" (more on that in a moment) to federal spending on charter schools. It's loaded with specious arguments. Let's tick off the items

First, Bush argues that our current education is designed as
a one-size-fits-all factory model of education, created in the 1890s to build a workforce for a factory-model economy.
The "factory model" rhetoric has been debunked many times, but Bush's variation is particularly silly. At the dawn on the 20th century, the enrollment rate for 5 through 19 year olds was around 30% for Blacks and 60% for Whites. Nobody was in school to "build a workforce," because the workforce was composed primarily of people who had not finished school; child labor was everywhere, and it took several decades in the 20th century to pass federal child labor laws. In short, factories were not depending on or even much looking for high school graduates.

Comment: The End of School ‘Reform’

Diane Ravitch's comment about this article in her blog..."Ed Reform has no successful strategies or ideas, but its billionaire funders and the U.S. Department of Education continue to fund its failed ideas."
While Jeff Bryant cheers the news that school "reform" is dying, he reminds us that it's not all good news. We still have the current culture war against Critical Race Theory and, expansion of vouchers to fight against.

From Jeff Bryant in The Progressive
...stories highlight the waning of three “school improvement” approaches: strict accountability with private management, mayoral control, and no-excuses charter schools. Each approach was among the pillars of “education reform” favored by previous presidential administrations and heartily endorsed by Washington, D.C., policy shops, such as the Center for American Progress.

...[these] stories also contribute to the much larger narrative of how the once all-pervasive and generously funded policy movement known as education reform has ended—not with a bang, but a whimper.

Other policy directives of the reform movement that are also being relegated to the dustbin of history include state takeovers of low-performing schools, evaluating teachers based on student test scores, and flunking third-graders who score below a certain threshold on reading exams.
TESTING

While colleges go test-optional, Indiana juniors prepare for a new SAT requirement

While colleges and universities are backing away from standardized tests as entrance exams, Indiana is doubling down, helping to keep the College Board and Educational Testing Service in business.

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana juniors, who were freshmen when the COVID-19 pandemic first closed schools, will experience another first next spring: They will be required to sit for the SAT.

At a time when many colleges and universities are dropping standardized test scores from their application considerations, Indiana will instead require all juniors to sit for the test as one possible path to graduation.

VOUCHERS: PUBLIC MONEY PAYS FOR RELIGIOUS AND RIGHT-WING PROPAGANDA

Textbooks in Voucher Schools, and other topics

Public tax dollars are being used to teach children anti-science, religious, and right-wing propaganda.

Other items in this NEIFPE member's blog include the New York Times and Disclosures, first responders and COVID-19, a missed month of blogging, protecting one's air-space, and knowing your rights regarding religion in public schools.

From Live Long and Prosper
Here in Indiana, and in many other private-school-voucher-allowing states, kids are learning that humans lived with dinosaurs and that slaves were immigrants...using public funds.
As Americans fight over wildly distorted descriptions of Critical Race Theory–a manufactured culture war “wedge issue” employed by parents fighting against more inclusive and accurate history instruction- -the article correctly points out that there has been virtually no attention paid to the curricula of private schools accepting vouchers.

...The U.S. Constitution gives parents the right to choose a religious education for their children. It does not impose an obligation on taxpayers to fund that choice, and we continue to do so at our peril.
*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 fortwayne.com/subscriptions/

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Monday, August 23, 2021

In Case You Missed It – August 23, 2021

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. 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 new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.
THIS WEEK

This week we're in the midst of the annual school beginning rollouts. Many schools have already started in Indiana and we're facing a not unexpected pushback from some parents on masks, vaccines, and student (and staff) safety in our public schools.

We also include two articles from last week, which grew in readership during this week.

To begin, though, we start with a discussion of infrastructure and Critical Race Theory.

CRITICAL RACE THEORY

Highways And Critical Race Theory

From Sheila Kennedy
Opponents of (a dramatically-mischaracterized) Critical Race Theory are essentially arguing against the recognition of just how deeply racism has affected American law and culture. They argue–and some undoubtedly believe–that civil rights laws created a level playing field, and that it’s now up to minority folks to stop complaining and make use of their equal opportunities.

The problem with that belief–even if we leave aside the sociological effects of two hundred plus years of history–is that it is wrong.

As a society, we are just beginning to appreciate the extent to which racial animus has been baked into our laws and customs. (I was shocked to read The Color of the Law, for example, which documented how deeply the federal government was implicated in redlining and the segregation of America.) Only because I was involved in an effort to modify plans for rebuilding Indiana’s interstates within Indianapolis’ downtown did I become aware of the degree to which the original placement of those highways was the result of racist motives and assumptions.

MASKS, VACCINES, AND SCHOOL SAFETY

Indiana’s governor backing schools on face mask mandates

Unlike other Republican governors, Indiana's Eric Holcomb is practicing actual conservative values in supporting local control over school mask mandates.

From AP News
Indiana’s governor gave his support Monday to the growing number of school districts across the state issuing mask mandates for students and staff as they try to head off more COVID-19 outbreaks.

Several of the state’s largest school districts in the Indianapolis area began requiring masks for indoor areas on Monday after starting the school year without such requirements, reacting to a growing number of COVID-19 infections among students as the more transmissible delta variant continues surging in the state.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said he would continue his policy of allowing local officials to impose mask rules and other steps to stem the coronavirus spread even as several school boards have faced vocal — and sometimes misleading — opposition to such actions.

“I think the schools that are putting mask mandates into place are making a wise decision when the facts warrant it,” Holcomb said. “I’m not surprised by the pushback having lived through the last year and a half.”
Biden orders Education Department to take action against governors who ban school mask mandates

The President pushes back against governors who are attempting to stop local school boards from doing what they need to do to protect the health and safety of students.

From the Answer Sheet
President Biden ordered Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Wednesday to take action against governors who have banned universal masking in public schools, taking a tough stand against those who he said are trying to “block and intimidate” local schools officials.

At a news conference, Biden said his administration would not “stand by” and allow governors to prevent local districts from “keeping students safe” with masking mandates for the new academic year as cases from the delta variant of the coronavirus are skyrocketing.

He did not name any specific governor, but Republican governors Ron DeSantis of Florida, Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona, are among those state leaders who have threatened to withhold funding from districts or take other action against those districts that defy them. In Florida, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, the fourth largest district in the country, on Wednesday passed a universal masking mandate — with only a medical opt-out — as did Hillsborough County Public Schools.

“I’m directing the secretary of education to take additional steps to protect our children,” Biden said. “This includes using all of his oversight authorities and legal action if appropriate against governors who are trying to block and intimidate local schools officials and educators.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said masking is one of the strongest tools that can be taken to protect the spread of the delta variant, which has caused a rise in pediatric coronavirus cases. The agency this summer, in a shift in guidance, recommended everyone over the age of 2 — even those who are vaccinated — wear masks inside school buildings.

But a handful of Republican governors and legislatures have banned mask mandates in schools.

Why Does Your Right to Unmask Usurp My Child’s Right to a Safe School?
John B. Finch, the great constitutional amendment advocate, was wont to settle this point by a single illustration. He said, “I stand alone upon a platform. I am a tall man with long arms which I may use at my pleasure. I may even double my fist and gesticulate at my own sweet will. But if another shall step upon the platform, and in the exercise of my personal liberty I bring my fist against his face, I very soon find that my personal liberty ends where that man’s nose begins.”
Where does one's right to remain unmasked or unvaccinated end?

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
We talk about rights so much we seem to have lost entirely the idea of responsibilities. They go hand-in-hand.

Yes, you have the freedom to do whatever you like so long as it doesn’t hurt another person.

When your actions do hurt others, you have a responsibility to stop. And if you won’t do that, the government has a responsibility to stop you.

But in this anti-intellectual age, we’ve almost completely given up on that idea.

If people take precautions by masking up and getting vaccinated, the worst that will happen is they’ll be unduly inconvenienced. If my daughter and I are forced to exist in the same spaces with people not taking the proper precautions, we could get sick and die.

It’s not like we’re talking about two equal sides here. This is people who believe the overwhelming scientific majority vs. those who get their answers from YouTube videos and political figures. It’s doctors, researchers and immunologists vs. conspiracy theorists, internet trolls and the MyPillow guy.

Classroom instruction vital, but so is safety

Masks are required in Fort Wayne Community Schools, but the other school systems in the county are "mask-optional." 

Keeping our students safe should not be "optional."

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Educators continue to tout the value of classroom instruction, and data released last week by the Indiana Department of Education reiterates the point as schools wade into a second academic year surrounded by coronavirus concerns.

Among Hoosier students last year, according to the department, those who attended in-person lessons fared better in math and English than counterparts whose families chose remote school options. Data show that in-person students outpaced virtual learners on test scores in both subjects.

"Educators across the state continue to lead this important work, and yet in order to overcome impacts of the pandemic, schools cannot do this alone," Indiana Secretary of Education Katie Jenner said in a statement. "This requires all of us working together : community partners, schools and families : to keep our focus on growth and improved outcomes for our Hoosier students."

A communal approach to ensuring in-person learning is key. But only one of Allen County's four public school districts : Fort Wayne Community Schools : is opting to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance calling for universal mask wearing, regardless of vaccination status. Buy-in on preventive measures from families, teachers and staff at East Allen County Schools, Northwest Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools will be more important than ever.

Schools were largely successful in 2020-21, when masks were mandatory. Nearly 50% of Indiana schools had more than 90% of their students attending in-person, state officials said.

LEFTOVERS FROM LAST WEEK

Koch Network Infiltration of Public Schools 'Harms Students, Teachers, and Our Democracy': Report

Read the report!

From Common Dreams
A new report published Wednesday reveals how the Koch network—a shadowy group of wealthy capitalists acting to push the U.S. in a more conservative direction—is methodically working to undermine and privatize public education for financial gain.

The report (pdf), entitled The Koch Network and the Capture of K-12 Education, was compiled by the advocacy groups UnKoch My Campus and Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ) and examines tactics employed by the plutocrats' cabal—which is led by billionaire Charles Koch, and whose members pay at least $100,000 per year—"to destabilize and abolish public education."

Charter Schools Are Not Public Schools (Ex. #152,377)

Charter schools are not public schools.

From Curmudgucation
In North Carolina, Charter Day School back in 2016 was sued by parents who objected to a dress code requiring girls to wear skirts, jumpers, or skorts. They just won that suit, sort of, but revealed somethiung about themselves in the winning.

...In 2019, a federal judge passed down the ruling that any public school in the country would have expected-- a dress code requiring skirts for girls is unconstitutional. The school quietly retired the item in the dress code.

But that wasn't the end of it. Monday (Aug 9) a federal appeals court tossed out the 2019 ruling--sort of-- in a 2-1 ruling.

The two judges, both Trump appointees, ruled that contrary to the assertion of the lower court, that charter schools should not be considered state actors, and are therefore not subject to the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This is yet another way for the courts to work their way around to declaring that charter schools are free to discriminate in any ways they wish. But it also makes one thing perfectly clear--

Charter schools are not public schools. They are not state actors.

**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 fortwayne.com/subscriptions/

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Monday, August 16, 2021

In Case You Missed It – August 16, 2021

Here are links to the last two week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. 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 new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.

THIS WEEK

School is starting and the news is still COVID-19 related. Whether it's anti-public school groups masquerading as anti-mask, learning loss, or school boards trying to navigate the now-politicized public health needs of students and staff, the coronavirus is still with us and driving everything education.
STUDENT LEARNING LOSS

Raging Against Reality, Crisis, and Education's Kobyashi Maru

Student achievement and learning loss are arbitrary constructs. It would be nice if we could just approach students where they are academically, and provide the opportunities for them to grow as much as they could without having to worry about test scores.

From Curmudgucation
So here comes yet more panicky news from NWEA, hollering that Learning Loss is consuming New Jersey. It is, in many ways, baloney. First, everyone keeps ignoring the loss of standardized test prep and practice that is a factor in test results, and second, the Learning Loss here is reported based on what NWEA imagines the scores on last years test would have been had students taken them.

I'm a little tired of pointing out the many, many, many problems with the continued chicken littling about Learning Loss, pushed most often by people who intend to make money by selling a solution.

We are being subjected to a constant crisis narrative, and as well chronicled in this post at Your Contractual Obligations, certain folks have been trying to drive education in a particular direction for decades, using a tale of impending doom soaked in deficit language. The great Pandemic Learning Loss tale is the same story, with one critical difference.

FOLLOWING THE SCIENCE

What I Don’t Want My School to be Like this Covid Year

It would be nice if the grown ups around the country could act like adults.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
I’m going to confess something.

I don’t like wearing a mask.

For a few hours on Halloween it’s fine, but trying to teach middle schoolers through a piece of fabric for 8 hours a day is no one’s idea of professionalism or efficacy.

You know what else?

I hate getting shots.

When they put that vaccination needle to my arm, I had to turn my head away and think about something else. Both times.

But guess what?

I did them.

And I am still WILLING to do them again.

If teaching in 2021-22 requires wearing a mask and even getting a third booster to the Covid vaccine, I’ll do it.

You know why?

Because I am an adult.

JUST ANOTHER EXCUSE TO DISRUPT PUBLIC EDUCATION

Unwelcome agenda

The goal is to disrupt public education so much that the public will lose confidence in public schools (just like what has been done to politics, government, and elections). Masks (or critical race theory, or sex education, or whatever the current culture war dujour is) are just an excuse to rail against the public schools.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
[EACS Board President Todd] Buckmaster lamented the divisive approach school boards are beginning to witness across the state and said East Allen has had parents from other districts "coming in trying to stir things up."

"The sad thing is that it often throws parents against the school boards," he said. "East Allen County Schools has a really conservative school board and we are there because we want to serve the general public; it's always best when we can work together."

Purple for Parents Indiana does not appear interested in working together. Its approach is to frighten and anger parents and to disrupt democratically elected school boards. Public school parents and supporters should be aware of the outside agitators targeting their local schools and step up to challenge them.

LISTEN TO THE DOCTORS

Nearly 200 doctors clash with school district that refuses to mandate masks

Who would you listen to...local politicians who hold degrees in law, accounting, or nothing at all, or 200 doctors who have actual medical qualifications?

From the Answer Sheet
An unusual fight over a mask mandate in schools has been unfolding in a high-achieving district in Kansas, where nearly 200 doctors have been fighting a superintendent who has refused to issue a mandate despite rising coronavirus rates.

The doctors, many of whom have children in the Blue Valley school district in Johnson County, have become activists, writing letters and trying to build support in their community for a mandate.
FWCS UPDATES

FWCS updates grading system

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools is scrapping a grading scale the superintendent says puts students -- particularly high schoolers -- at a competitive disadvantage.

The 30,000-student district is implementing a new system that redefines the percentage range for the five letter grades -- A, B, C, D and F. Changes include adjusting the A range so it begins at 90% instead of 93%.

It takes effect this academic year, which begins Aug. 16.

Superintendent Mark Daniel announced the change Tuesday during a Facebook Live update. He noted teachers -- mostly at the secondary level -- began asking him to reevaluate the grading scale when he joined FWCS last summer.

Masks for all, FWCS decrees

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
It's masks on for all Fort Wayne Community Schools students, staff and visitors, when school resumes Monday.

That's what Superintendent Mark Daniel told school board members Monday while outlining the district's new policy to cope with COVID-19.

The new requirement applies inside school buildings and on buses, Daniel said. And it applies both to vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

FWCS using virus relief funds on air quality

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Multiple carbon dioxide tests at all buildings helped Fort Wayne Community Schools decide where to invest about $15 million for air quality improvements.

The seven-member school board didn't need much convincing Monday to approve the contract with Performance Services Inc. to address heating, ventilation and air conditioning needs at nine elementary and two middle schools.

“These were buildings that constantly were on our radar of needing additional mechanical work for the units,” said Darren Hess, facilities director. “We couldn't make do with existing equipment, so we have to replace the equipment.”

The project mostly includes replacement of classroom unit ventilators and HVAC building relief fans, according to information provided to the board.

NATIONAL TEACHERS UNIONS AND COVID-19

NEA and AFT are wrong on vaccinations

Since this post was published (August 3, 2021), both the NEA and the AFT have come out in support of vaccine mandates.

From Curmudgucation
Fred Klonsky has said this today, but I'm going to say it, too.

The national teachers unions (and a few other unions as well) are wrong on vaccinations.

Randi Weingarten has said it should be locally negotiated:
"In order for everyone to feel safe and welcome in their workplaces, vaccinations must be negotiated between employers and workers, not coerced," Weingarten said in a statement.
The NEA says that teachers should be given the option of weekly testing.

It's not clear why, exactly, the unions have taken this position. Certainly there are plenty of members who do not support mandatory vaccinations, but it's not like the nationals have been reluctant to take positions without worrying about internal opposition (for example, Common Core support and endorsing Hillary Clinton and too many years of test-centered accountability).

**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 fortwayne.com/subscriptions/

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Monday, August 9, 2021

In Case You Missed It – August 9, 2021

NEIFPE is off this week. We'll be back with more updates on August 16, 2021. Thanks for supporting Public Education.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest in Public Education news.

Be sure to enter your email address in the new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.
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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Public Meetings on Redistricting Maps: This is Your Chance to Speak Up

The public is invited to attend meetings across the state to voice their thoughts on the redistricting process that will determine the boundaries of federal and state legislative districts for the next ten years. This is your opportunity to weigh in with legislators in person and tell them that you want to see a fair and bipartisan approach to redistricting that stops the out-of-control gerrymandering of our current district maps.
Meetings will be held across the state starting in Lafayette this Friday, August 6 and concluding with a final meeting at the Indiana Statehouse on Wednesday, August 11. The complete schedule of meetings is as follows:

North – Friday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 7 at the following Ivy Tech campuses:
Lafayette | 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 6
Valparaiso | 3-5 p.m. CDT Friday, Aug. 6
Fort Wayne | 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 7
Elkhart | 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7

South – Friday, Aug. 6 and Saturday, Aug. 7 at the following Ivy Tech campuses:
Anderson | 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 6
Columbus | 4-6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6
Evansville | 9-11 a.m. CDT Saturday, Aug. 7
Sellersburg | 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 7

Central – Wednesday, Aug. 11 at the Statehouse
Indianapolis | 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11 in the House Chamber at the Indiana Statehouse
If districts aren't fairly drawn, you will not be able to hold your politician accountable for their votes on issues that matter to you. Powerful special interests and big donors are the only ones who will count.

If you would like suggestions on what to say at the meetings, Common Cause Indiana released a report summarizing the public forums they hosted where Hoosiers weighed in on what they want to see from redistricting this year. The report provides a list of major concerns and district-by-district recommendations to achieve fair representation through the redistricting process.

Details on the room number for the above meetings and live streams of the events will be available online. Although room numbers are not yet posted, you will find that information at the link above when it is decided.
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Monday, August 2, 2021

In Case You Missed It – August 2, 2021

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. 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 new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.
FOR KIDS, NOT FOR PROFIT

The for-profit charter school problem

Non-profit charter schools are not always non-profit.

From Jeff Bryant in Alternet
The top lobbying group for the charter school industry is rushing to preserve millions in funds from the federal government that flow to charter operators that have turned their K-12 schools into profit-making enterprises, often in low-income communities of color.

The group, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), objects to a provision in the House Appropriations Committee's proposed 2022 education budget that closes loopholes that have long been exploited by charter school operators that profit from their schools through management contracts, real estate deals, and other business arrangements. NAPCS also objects to the legislation's proposal to cut 9 percent from the federal government's troubled Charter Schools Program (CSP).

The House budget proposal, which was passed out of the majority Democratic committee "in a party-line vote," according to the Hill, has been praised by numerous education groups, including the National School Boards Association, the National Education Association, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities, for, among many things, more than doubling Title I funding for schools serving low-income children, providing over $3 billion more to educate students with disabilities, and increasing federal spending on K-12 education programs, Education Week reports.

SCHOOL SAFETY DURING THE PANDEMIC UPSURGE

We Don’t Need More ADVICE on How to Safely Reopen Schools. We Need RULES.

We don’t need advice. We need rules.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
This week the CDC changed its advice to all staff, students and teachers when schools reopen. Instead of wearing masks in schools only when unvaccinated, people should wear masks regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated or not.

This is necessary to protect children who aren’t eligible for the vaccine and slow the spread of new more infectious variants of the virus, representatives said.

The problem is that too many Americans don’t listen to advice – especially if it goes against their beliefs.

And there are a significant number of Americans who believe whatever crazy nonsense talk radio, Fox News or their savior Donald Trump tell them.

Immunologists talking about infectious disease just don’t rate.

So these people aren’t going to listen to the CDC’s advice.

That presents real problems both for them and for us.
WHY CAN'T BILLY AND MARK LEARN?

Can We Close The Billionaire Learning Gap?

“As an educator, I have to ask-- why can't Billy and Mark learn? Are their personal circumstances interfering? Is it family of origin issues? Do they have special needs that aren't being met?”

From Curmudgucation
Let's talk about the billionaire learning gap. Let's talk about how certain really rich people who have an apparently uncontrollable urge to fiddle with education and yet remain rank amateurs who still haven't learned things about education that the average third-year teacher already knows.

We have to talk about this because here they come again. The Gates Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Walton Family Foundation have announced that they are ponying up $200 million for yet another education initiative.

UNFINISHED LEARNING

There’s New Data On Last Year’s Student Learning Loss. Let’s Not Draw The Wrong Conclusions.

Learning loss (or unfinished learning) is a made-up concept designed to make money for testing companies and unscrupulous marketers of learning materials.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
This week, both NWEA (a testing company) and McKinsey and Company (a consulting firm) released reports examining “learning loss” (now being rebranded as “unfinished learning,” a marginally more accurate term). The bottom line is that test scores in math and reading went up over the course of last year, but not as much as in previous years.

Both Chalkbeat (a publication that regularly covers education) and the New York Times (which did not assign an education reporter to the story) were there with coverage this morning. Both studies looked at student test score gains from last year and compared them to other years, finding that students did raise their scores between the beginning and the end of the year, but not as much as students in previous years. They further noted that the wealthier the district, the closer students came to a previous years’ gains.

As this story works its way through the media, there are a couple of important points to remember.

First, NWEA and McKinsey are both businesses with products to market in the education sector. The NYT chose to use the language or marketers, framing the results as showing “months behind,” a framing designed to alarm parents (”There’s a race going on and your kid is behind!! Quick—buy something to fix it!”).

Second, always remember that no matter how these results are framed, we are talking about the results of a standardized test of reading and math, not a full measure of all learning. Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that test results are predictors of demographics, so don’t assume they mean what some folks—the same folks who use them to drive business—tell you they mean.
LOCAL AREA SCHOOLS

FWCS working to fill all positions

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools is "pulling out all the stops" to ensure positions are filled when the district welcomes its almost 30,000 students to classes next month, a central office administrator said Monday.

The district needs people across departments, including in classrooms and transportation, administrators said after the school board meeting.

"We've had a surge of resignations," Superintendent Mark Daniel told the board. "Hiring, however, is keeping pace with these demands."

The board approved four teacher retirements and 24 teacher resignations, but it hired 36 educators, according to the personnel report.

"I'm very pleased with what I'm hearing from (human resources)," Daniel said.

New NACS school comes together

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Superintendent Chris Himsel paused while visiting an elementary school to note the time – about 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, exactly three weeks until the first day of classes. He already encountered two teachers prepping their rooms, and he would encounter two more before leaving.

Summertime classroom preparations aren't unusual, but these Northwest Allen County Schools educators had a particularly good reason to be there on a sunny July day – they're starting from scratch at Aspen Meadow Elementary School.

The school will welcome its first students – about 450 in all – Aug. 11.

**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 fortwayne.com/subscriptions/

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Monday, July 26, 2021

In Case You Missed It – July 26, 2021

Here are links to last week's articles receiving the most attention on NEIFPE's social media accounts. 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 new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.


CHARTERS

Charter schools haven't provided the innovations promised. When charters were new they were going to be the labratories for discovering new ways to teach. Charters were going to fill in the gaps that public schools missed. After more than two decades, however, the charter school experiemnt has provided no new innovations and no increased performance when compared to public schools (and neither have private schools collecting state funds through vouchers).

Charters have provided hundreds of scandals and millions of lost tax dollars that should have gone to real public schools.

Read below how charter operators are whining about minimal regulations to help stop the flood of embezzlement, cheating, and the theft of America's tax dollars.

In addition, there's more evidence that charters choose their students, increase segregation, and don't perform better than public schools.

House Democrats Want to Bar Federal Funding of For-Profit Charter Schools, and Charter Lobby Goes Wild

From Diane Ravitch
The federal government has handed out billions of dollars to start new charter schools. The federal Charter Schools Program program started small, in 1994, with less than $10 million. At that time, based on hope, not evidence, charter schools, it was believed, would be more innovative, more accountable, and better than district public schools. Twenty-six years later, we know more, and we know that many charters fail, few are accountable, and precious little innovation has come from them. But the funding for the program has grown and grown. The federal government is now the biggest funder of new charters. Under Betsy DeVos, most of the annual appropriation of $440 million was doled out to charter chains, like KIPP and IDEA, not to teacher-led schools or mom-and-pop schools.

In 2019, the Network for Public Education issued reports based on federal data, showing that one of every three federally-funded charters closed soon after opening or never opened at all. (See here and here.) NPE also issued a report recently about the for-profit management companies that enrich themselves and their shareholders with public money intended for instruction.

Chris Lubienski: The Deceptive Language of School Choice

From Diane Ravitch
Chris Lubienski is a professor of education policy at Indiana University. He wrote recently with Amanda Potterton and Joe Malin about the deceptive rhetoric of school choice rhetoric. Thirty years ago, the school choice movement boasted that charters and vouchers would “save poor children from failing public schools.” They claimed that private schools outperform public schools. Now we know that school choice does not produce academic improvement for students; that many pick their students and discriminate against the children they don’t want. “Success” for school choice means expansion of charters and vouchers, not better education for students.
Last week, Forbes magazine published an article on how “School Choice Keeps Winning.” Interestingly, “winning” isn’t defined as helping kids learn. Indeed, the article avoids that issue because evidence indicates that school choice is actually failing on that front. Instead, Forbes uses the term to celebrate the expansion of choice programs in many GOP-led states.
TESTING

Economists Worry Covid-19 May End Standardized Testing Altogether

Could the silver lining of the COVID-19 cloud be that we finally end the misuse and overuse of standardized testing?

From Gadfly on the Wall
The sky is falling for standardized test enthusiasts.

Economists Paul Bruno and Dan Goldhaber published a paper this month worrying that the Coronavirus pandemic may increase pressure to end high stakes testing once and for all.

The paper is called “Reflections on What Pandemic-Related State Test Waiver Requests Suggest About the Priorities for the Use of Tests.” It was written for The National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) – a Walton funded, pro standardized testing policy concern.

It’s easy to see why Bruno (who also taught middle school) and Goldhaber (who did not) are distressed.

Last school year President Joe Biden forced districts nationwide to give standardized assessments despite the raging Covid-19 pandemic.

DECADES OF HOSTILITY TO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

White Evangelicals Want to Destroy the Public Schools

In 1979, Jerry Falwell (Sr.) said,
I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!
His philosophical and religious descendants are still trying to damage public education.

From Diane Ravitch
Katherine Stewart’s new book The Power Worshippers describes the hostility of evangelical Christians to public schools. I reviewed her book along with two others in the New York Review of Books. One of the most interesting insights in her book is that white evangelicals at first tried to mobilize public opinion to protect the tax-exempt status of segregated private schools and universities. When that didn’t work, they found another issue that did: abortion.

But they have never given up on their goal of public funding for religious schools that were free to discriminate and the elimination of public schools.
SELF-SERVE EDUCATION PLANS

Education and the Self-Service Thunderdome

Curmudgucation blogger Peter Greene comments about the increase in self-service stores...specifically at Walmart...and how privatizers (including the Walton family) are working hard to make America's education system "self-serve."

From Curmudgucation
I'm not opposed to self-service on principle. I do not, for instance, miss gas station attendants at all (you youngsters can go ask your parents or grandparents what they were). Rather than explain to someone what I want and then wait for them to do it, it's far simpler to just get out of the car and do it myself. But what value is added by having me do my own swiping across a bar code reader?

In fact, as we're having the chance to view across many businesses these days, "self-service" is a pretty euphemism for "reduced service."

It's the dawn of retail thunderdome, in which the retailer provides customers with virtually no service at all except for a building, a marketplace in which to hunt, as best your able, for what you are able to find. Need help? Holler fruitlessly at the surveillance cameras. Can't find what you want? Not their problem--you're welcome to choose from whatever they decide to put on the shelves. Customer, you are on your own.

If this model seems vaguely familiar, that's because it's the same model at the heart of modern school choice. It is self-service education, an "ecosystem" in which customers are on their own, without aid or assistance or even anyone to make sure that the available options are safe. Nobody around to watch out for their interests but themselves. Caveat your own emptor, buddy. Here's a tiny voucher to help you feel as if the community hasn't abandoned you entirely, but once we hand you that voucher, we wash our hands of you.

IGNORING HISTORY, IGNORING SCIENCE

The Venn diagram of those who are against teaching evolution, those who are against teaching facts about the racial history of the United States, those shouting the loudest against the "tyranny" of having students wear masks during a pandemic, and those refusing to get vaccinated, is nearly a perfect circle.

America - Exceptionalism or Ignorance?

From Live Long and Prosper
Many of the same science-denying activists and legislators who are trying their best to "protect" American school children from climate change, public health efforts, and evolution, are now trying to "protect" students from actual history which doesn't always present the "American Experience" in a good light.

Instead of teaching children that the freedoms so eloquently described in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution should be taken as goals, not reality...that such freedoms were not available to women, native people, and hundreds of thousands of Africans and their descendants enslaved throughout the entire country, they want us to focus on "American Exceptionalism" -- that the USA is somehow God-ordained to lead the world morally as well as militarily. Somehow, if we hide the ugly side of our history it will be ignored and forgotten.

...There is a concerted effort on behalf of many Americans to hide the truth from our children...the truth about science, and the truth about our history. How "exceptional" can America be when we're sending our children to school and encouraging them to remain ignorant?

Ohio Governor Signs Bill To Ban Schools and Universities from Requiring COVID Vaccinations

From Diane Ravitch
America, we have a problem. The COVID is spreading, largely through a highly contagious variant called Delta, but only 48.3% of the population is vaccinated. More than 600,000 Americans have died. In five states—Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Wyoming, and Louisisna—less than 36% are vaccinated.

Despite the resurgence of this deadly disease, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation barring schools and universities from excluding unvaccinated students. The results are predictable: more hospitalizations, more deaths.

GOP legislators say they prefer to wait until the vaccines have received full approval from the Centers for Disease Control. The three in wide use-Moderna, Pzifer, and J&J-were approved on an emergency basis by the CDC and have been highly effective.

SUMMER HELP FROM FWCS

FWCS partnerships help students

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Placing FWCS teachers at various community sites – the Euell A. Wilson Center, Parks and Recreation centers, YMCA locations and other Boys and Girls Clubs facilities – for two four-week sessions is a first for the 30,000-student district, said Matt Schiebel, a secondary education director.

The effort helps broaden FWCS' summer reach to children not participating in Jump Start, the district's academically focused K-8 summer program at Blackhawk and Memorial Park middle schools, Schiebel said.

The school district's renewed focus on summer learning followed a nontraditional school year marked with remote learning, quarantines and other challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
**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 fortwayne.com/subscriptions/

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