Monday, February 22, 2021

In Case You Missed It – February 22, 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 Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.


Legislatures around the country have been pushing voucher programs. The Indiana General Assembly has several bills expanding the state's already expansive voucher program. It's not too late to write to your state senators and tell them to vote NO on the expansion of vouchers. Read about the bills below, and about states where the voucher plans were blocked by public school advocates.

Bill lavishes more money on favored private schools

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Hoosiers should demand to know the justification for handing millions in tax dollars to high-income households and private and parochial schools. How many more ways can GOP lawmakers find to take money from the schools serving 90% of Indiana's students, including the neediest?

Vouchers cost taxpayers $172 million last year alone. Overlooked are the costly programs created to lay the groundwork. It began with charter schools ($85 million in misspent public funds by Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, according to state auditors).

Two programs were then created to win voucher support from wary non-public school families. The first established Scholarship Granting Organizations ($59.6 million in tax credits since 2010, according to the Indiana Department of Revenue). It served the dual purposes of creating a voucher eligibility pathway and funneling millions of dollars to private and parochial schools. The tax credit was capped at $2.5?million a year when it began, growing quietly and steadily to $16.5 million this year.

In the 2019 tax year, 3,372 taxpayers were awarded just over $9 million in tax credits, at an average credit of $2,670. In some cases, donations are carried over because they exceed the taxpayer's tax liability, or the cap on allowable credits has already been met.

But that's not all...

House passes voucher expansion

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
House Bill 1005 would increase the amount of money families can make to be eligible for vouchers and also increase the awards themselves.

And the measure creates new Education Scholarship Accounts in which state money would be deposited for families to choose how they want to educate their children. It is open only to special education students and children of active military.

The cost of the bill is more than $65 million over the biennium.

Rep. Renee Pack, D-Indianapolis, said "expanding voucher eligibility is just not appropriate and "encourages families to withdraw from our schools."

She added that the legislature needs to stand up for the more than 90% of students in public schools.

What Is at Stake when ALEC, the State Policy Network, The Buckeye Institute and EdChoice Lobby for Vouchers?

From Jan Resseger
As we begin 2021, there has been troubling coverage about new voucher programs popping up in state legislatures. This is despite that Betsy DeVos is gone and that President Joseph Biden is a strong supporter of the institution of public schools. And in states like Indiana, and Ohio, where privatized school vouchers have been in place for decades, we can also watch pressure for their expansion.

Earlier this week, Bill Phillis, Ohio’s longest and best informed proponent of public schools and the executive director of the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, sent around a troubling article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette describing a bill being considered by the Indiana House Education Committee for the radical expansion of an already enormous publicly funded private school tuition voucher program in Indiana, Ohio’s neighbor...

Good News from New Hampshire: Legislature Postpones Voucher Bill to Next Year

Hoosiers have never directly approved a voucher program yet our legislators keep increasing the amount of money diverted from your tax dollars to private schools. It won't stop until we either 1) overwhelm our legislators with demands to quit taking tax dollars away from public schools, or 2) elect different legislators!

Either way, we need "strong opposition" here in Indiana.

From Diane Ravitch
As a result of strong opposition, Republicans who control the New Hampshire legislature decided to postpone consideration of their “number one priority,” school vouchers. Under consideration was the most sweeping voucher bill in the nation. Thousands of people signed up to testify against the legislation.
Arizona: CEOs Criticize Voucher Expansion

Arizona, it seems, wants to duplicate the mistakes made in Indiana. Some CEOs are objecting...

From Diane Ravitch
Jim Swanson and John Graham, both CEOs in Arizona, wrote a stern warning against the legislature’s proposed voucher expansion, which would make almost all students in the state eligible for public funding to spend in a private or religious school. One of the authors is on the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools. Arizona is a state that likes low taxes; it does not fund its public schools adequately or equitably. Under the leadership of Governor Doug Ducey (who promised the Koch brothers a few years ago that he would drive taxes down as low as he could), the state is offering choice instead of adequate funding to its schools. Arizona has consistently underfunded its public schools and pretends to “reform” them by offering charters and vouchers.


How Indiana has cut funding for students in poverty, hurting urban schools

Hoosier schools and children in poverty are hurt by Hoosier legislation.

From Chalkbeat Indiana*
Even though the state boasts an increased education budget each year, Indianapolis Public Schools receives $15 less per student today in basic state funding than it did seven years ago.

That’s because IPS’ gains in funding for each student have been eaten up by a sharper decline in state support for students in poverty, district officials say.

In recent years, Indiana lawmakers have prioritized across-the-board increases for schools over support for disadvantaged students, favoring budget strategies that buoy more affluent districts while higher-poverty schools say they’re left without enough resources to serve disadvantaged students.


Educational Mansplaining

From Live Long and Prosper
By now it should be no secret why teachers are "mansplained" about education -- aka treated with less respect than other professionals. Teaching is still seen as "women's work" and those who hold control of the funding in education are mostly men.
In a field so dominated by women, it's not surprising that, in our patriarchal society, teachers are devalued and disrespected. Women still earn less than men. Women still have trouble reaching the highest levels of societal status (outliers notwithstanding). And women are still objectified in popular culture.

Money and status are still the most reliable paths to respect in our culture. The relatively low pay of the teaching profession and the fact that women make up the majority of educators tend to lower the status of teaching when compared to other professions.

In societies where education is more successful teachers are paid more and afforded higher status.
Now, the next time you hear a politician talk to a teacher or a group of teachers (or the general public) about "...what's wrong with education in this country" you'll know what's really going on.


You’re Going to Miss Us When We’re Gone – What School May Look Like Once All the Teachers Quit

Steven Singer penned this dystopian tale about school privatization gone wild...Read it all!

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
DeShaun just sat there looking at his cracked phone.

Was this really all he had to look forward to, he thought.

He missed school.

He missed teachers.

He missed everything that used to be.
*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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