Monday, March 15, 2021

In Case You Missed It – March 15, 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.


Indiana schools bristle at bill seeking efficiencies to raise teacher pay

Raising teacher pay by cutting other services is only "efficient" if you are trying to justify spending millions of tax dollars every year on private and religious schools. Indiana's voucher program has diverted more than a billion dollars of your tax dollars to mostly religious schools over the past decade. Asking public schools to cut services just to pay teachers is adding insult to injury.

The Governor has promised to increase teacher pay. The Teacher Compensation Commission included some of the types of things discussed in this article, but it also said that increasing revenue options was important. In other words, to raise teacher salaries, Indiana needs to allocate more money to public schools. Instead, this year's legislature wants to boost vouchers by double-digit percentages while public schools get a token increase which doesn't even keep up with inflation.

From Chalkbeat*
A seemingly uncontroversial bipartisan bill that would solicit ideas to make school transportation and facilities more efficient turned into a clash between the legislature and school districts at a hearing this week.

The idea is so nascent, the bill’s author said it is unclear what proposals it might elicit. The bill does not specify what efficiencies it is seeking. It calls for ideas for creating new structures for managing transportation or building operations, and one possibility mentioned in the House is that neighboring districts could share bus services.

But education lobbyists and district officials from across Indiana bristled, seeing the bill as a way to leave schools out of financial conversations or force them to consolidate or outsource services. The proposal also struck them as the state trying to stick schools with the bill for increasing teacher pay.

“Where’s the evidence that this will have any benefit whatsoever?” asked Terry Spradlin, executive director of the Indiana School Boards Association, at a hearing Wednesday. “This bill really cuts us out of having input. … It seems to jump ahead to make this conclusion that privatization is the solution here.”

Charlie Brown, Lucy, and the football

We won't attract new teachers to Indiana if we continue as the lowest paying state in the midwest.

From Live Long and Prosper
Could more money help attract young people to a career in education? Perhaps, but it won't happen if the supermajority in the legislature has anything to say about it. If passed by the [Indiana General Assembly], one-third of this year's increase for education will go to the 5% of students who don't attend public schools. Until we stop moving public money to religious institutions, we're not going to be able to attract new teachers (or fully fund public schools).

Governor Holcomb has joined with the Republicans in the state legislature to shrink the pool of Indiana's qualified teachers. Without an incentive to seek a career in education where will our future teachers come from?


College Deans Speak Out Against High Stakes Testing

Yet another professional group speaks out against continuing high stakes testing during the pandemic.

From Diane Ravitch
...problems abound with high-stakes standardized testing of students, particularly regarding validity, reliability, fairness, bias, and cost. National research centers and organizations have synthesized these findings about standardized testing, including the National Educational Policy Center and FairTest. For example, some of the harmful impacts of high-stakes testing include: distorted and less rigorous curriculum; the misuse of test scores, including grade retention, tracking, and teacher evaluation; deficit framing (blaming) of students and their families and ineffective remedial interventions, particularly for communities of color and communities in poverty; and heightened anxiety and shame for teachers and students. Researchers have also spoken specifically about annual state testing, like in California and Texas, arguing that such assessments should not be administered, much less be the basis for high-stakes decision making.
Tweet From Jamaal Bowman

Educator Jamaal Bowman is now a newly elected congressman from New York. Here he speaks out against high stakes testing. His twitter thread begins...
It is a fact, not an opinion, that our standardized testing system discriminates against kids who learn differently. It also discriminates against poor kids. Black and brown kids as well.

I need you all to understand the root causes of why. Take this journey with me...


Great News: Vouchers Blocked Again in Texas!

...but not in Indiana...

From Diane Ravitch
A voucher bill has been filed in every Texas Legislature since 1995, so we were not surprised, nor were we unprepared. The people of Texas do not want vouchers taking money from their public schools. Furthermore, we will remain vigilant to block any future voucher proposals.

We are thankful that this dangerous proposition was short-lived, and especially thankful for the public education advocacy community, which includes each of you, for making sure of tha
Vouchers May Be The Next Big Education Reform. Have Charter Schools Been Left Behind?

Arne Duncan and the Obama administration pushed charter schools. Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration doubled down on any form of privatization. Now, state legislatures around the country (including Indiana) are fighting for vouchers in any form and more privatization.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
...the brand of school choice being promoted is vouchers and neo-vouchers. From New Hampshire to Arizona to Kentucky to Florida to a dozen other states, the push is on for the creation or expansion of some variety of voucher system. In many cases, the system under consideration is an education savings account (ESA), a system that allows families to spend their voucher money on any of a number of education expenses, often with minimal state oversight of either the families or the education service vendors. Some states are simply planning to shift taxpayer funds to these vouchers, while others will give donors a tax credit for chipping in the money. Either way, taxpayer dollars are diverted away from the public system.


SACS looking inward for new chief

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The next person to helm Southwest Allen County Schools likely will be a familiar face.

The school board has decided to pursue internal applicants for the upcoming superintendent vacancy. Phil Downs announced in January that he intends to retire Dec. 31.
*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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