Monday, January 18, 2021

In Case You Missed It – January 18, 2021

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.


It’s been true for a decade now. Our legislators want to spend our tax dollars on exclusionary charters and private schools that are unaccountable to the public at the expense of our public schools that accept all students. The goal, it seems, is to privatize all education and eliminate the public school system.

It seems that none of the legislators who continue to choose private and privately run schools over public schools understand that public schools are mandated by the Indiana constitution (emphasis added).
Knowledge and learning, generally diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government;  it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual, scientific, and agricultural improvement;  and to provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all.
Do any of our legislators think that we can publicly fund three separate school systems and not spend more money? Do any of them understand that opening additional schools (charters) where none are needed will end up costing more money?

Sadly, Indiana voters continue to return those who are slowly but surely killing public education to the General Assembly year after year.

Legislators propose expanded vouchers, ESA’s

From School Matters
In 2019-20, Indiana spent $172.8 million to provide vouchers to over 36,000 students attending more than 300 private schools, nearly all of them religious schools. HB 1005 would increase that spending significantly, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the state’s economy hard and lawmakers have said they will do well to keep school funding at its current levels.

Education funding tends to be a zero-sum game in Indiana. If private schools and other privately operated education services get more state funding – as HB 1005 envisions – it’s likely to mean less money for public school districts and charter schools.

Left out of referendums, Indiana charter schools see opening for more funding

From Chalkbeat*
Joel Hand, general counsel and lobbyist for the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, argues that since property taxes come from the community, they should be used to sustain traditional districts that voters control through elected school boards.

Despite his opposition, however, Hand believes the legislature is likely to take some action to boost charter school funding.

“I do think that they will be successful with getting more funding for charter schools, even in light of the pandemic,” Hand said, “because I think that legislators are going to place a higher priority on what they refer to as ‘choice schools’ over the traditional public schools.”

Indiana teachers frustrated over longer wait for COVID-19 vaccine

The disdain for teachers and their health and safety is fairly evident in Indiana.

From Chalkbeat*
As teachers in some other states line up for the COVID-19 vaccine, Indiana educators wonder when their turn will come.

It’s unclear when Indiana teachers will be eligible for the vaccine, but they will likely have to wait several weeks until Hoosiers age 60 and older and people with medical conditions receive their shots — putting them further back in line than they hoped to be.

“We are told that we are essential and important, and yet we are not on any list. We aren’t told what our plans are,” said Franklin Township elementary school teacher Sheila Sego.


Washington Post Editorial Board Gets It Wrong About Testing Students In 2021

From Peter Greene in Forbes
The Washington Post board boils their support down to a few questions. All of these questions have answers, and none of the answers are “Give the standardized tests this spring.”

How can schools create plans to make up for covid-related learning losses if those losses haven’t been measured?

The Big Standardized Tests will provide little help with this. First, they only cover math and reading. Second, the results take months to come back. So test results will be too little, too late to help districts create any make-up plans.

That said, the idea of learning loss is itself suspect, even a little ridiculous. It’s not that the pandemic won’t have affected student learning; that seems self-evident. But the various write-ups of learning loss are themselves useless, almost always expressing the “loss” in terms of “days of learning.” But “days of learning” is simply a fabricated measure that is really another name for difference in test scores (a fuller explanation is here if you want it). In other words, “we guesstimate students will probably lose X days of learning,” actually means “we guesstimate that students will score an average Y points lower on the Big Standardized Test.” So in a sense, the editors are correct—we can’t measure learning loss without test scores, because learning loss is just another name for test scores.


I will miss Jennifer McCormick

From School Matters
McCormick has been a tireless and outspoken advocate for public schools and for their students and teachers. Those schools enroll 88% of Hoosier K-12 students, yet they are often an afterthought for lawmakers and policy elites who promote charter and private schools.

I was skeptical when McCormick, a Republican, was elected in 2016. Her campaign received considerable support from advocates for school privatization, and she was part of a GOP ticket that didn’t seem to make public education a high priority. She turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

*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.


No comments: