Monday, February 1, 2021

In Case You Missed It – February 1, 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.

Please write the House Education Committee before Wednesday! HB1005, the most dangerous bill to public education, will be read and voted on this Wednesday. Please write every member of this committee to let them know you oppose the use of public dollars going to private schools, further weakening the dollars that go to public schools. Over a two year period, this increase to vouchers would cost taxpayers 2,000,000 dollars. Is this fiscally responsible at this moment when we are in the midst of a pandemic? Is it wise to funnel money to schools where only 10% of students attend?

You can read more about HB1005 at Vic’s Statehouse Notes #348

Email the House Education Committee at Indiana Legislative Education Committees


School Police Can Sign Up For The COVID Vaccine. Teachers Still Can't

The CDC recommends that teachers should be vaccinated along with other essential workers. That's not happening in Indiana.

From Indiana Public Media
The limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines is causing tension as states roll out plans for who should get shots first, and school advocates in Indiana are pressing for more access for teachers.

The Indiana Coalition For Public Education and state's largest teachers union are urging Gov. Eric Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Kris Box to revise the state's plan and prioritize educators in earlier phases of vaccine rollout.

In a letter sent to Holcomb and Box this week, ICPE urged them to adopt the same guidelines shared from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that prioritize educators alongside first responders. It's a change the Indiana State Teachers Association has also called on them to make.

Teachers and the Toll of Disinterest

From Curmudgucation
We have known now for a year that it would take an extraordinary investment to re-open school buildings safely. We didn't do it, and it's hard to attribute that to anything other than indifference and disinterest and the oldest education motto in the world ("We could do the right thing, but it would hard").

So as was the case after Sandy Hook and Parkland, teachers have to contemplate that part of the population (including, it should be said, some of their professional peers) that says, "Yeah, some of you may have to die, and we'd rather you stopped whining about it and just got back to work." It's not just the possibility of death or illness that takes its toll; it's the realization that this is how some people see you--a servant who just doesn't deserve all thart much concern.

Look, these are hard times with a surfeit of really noisy data and no attractive choices. But if teachers appear to be a bit shell-shocked by some expressions of disinterest in their lives and work, know that a snappy pep talk is not going to fix it.

Biden administration urged to allow states to cancel spring standardized testing

NEIFPE is one of the "70 local, state and national organizations" which has signed on to the letter discussed in this article.

From the Answer Sheet
The letter says in part:

“It does not take a standardized assessment to know that for millions of America’s children, the burden of learning remotely, either full- or part-time, expands academic learning gaps between haves and have nots. Whenever children are able to return fully to their classrooms, every instructional moment should be dedicated to teaching, not to teasing out test score gaps that we already know exist. If the tests are given this spring, the scores will not be released until the fall of 2021 when students have different teachers and may even be enrolled in a different school. Scores will have little to no diagnostic value when they finally arrive. Simply put, a test is a measure, not a remedy.”


Farewell to the SAT! We Hope.

Some colleges and universities have stopped using the SAT as an "entrance exam."

From Diane Ravitch
The SAT is in trouble. Its business model is threatened by the more than 1,000 colleges and universities that no longer require it for admission. Many more higher education institutions dropped the SAT due to the pandemic. The SAT is big business. It collects more than $1 billion each year in revenue. Its CEO, David Coleman, was architect of the Common Core standards, with a background at McKinsey. His salary is about $1 million a year. He achieved notoriety when he promoted the Common Core and came out against personal essays; he told an audience of educators in New York State that when you grow up, no one “gives a sh—“ about how you feel. They want facts. His Common Core curriculum insisted on the study of more non-fiction, which drove down the teaching of literature.


John Thompson: A Hilarious Novel about Life in the Classroom Today

From Diane Ravitch
Who knew that “adequate yearly progress” and “accountability” could be the subject of a comic novel? John Thompson just read that novel and he reviews it here.
Roxanna Elden’s Adequate Yearly Progress is a hilarious, satirical novel that nails the very serious truths about the real world effects of corporate school reform. Although Elden’s humor spectacularly illuminates the reformers’ often-absurd mindsets, she also reveals the good, bad, and the ugly of a diverse range of human beings.


Education And The Necessity Of Confusion

Education is not quite as simple as the former President's 1776 Commission believes.

From Peter Green in Forbes
The 1776 Commission’s short, ignominious life produced a report that was widely reviled1 (and apparently a cut and paste job). It took less than a month to create the report, and just about three days to banish it from the official government web (some hard-right fans have preserved the text elsewhere). One commissioner has indicated that the group intends to continue plugging away. Good luck with that.

Beyond the historical distortions and hard-right baloney, the report contained some ideas about what education is supposed to do and how it is supposed to work. Those are worth looking at, because they really capture one of the central debates of education that underlies so many others. The commissioner’s ideas are wrong, but illuminating.

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