Monday, March 29, 2021

In Case You Missed It – March 29, 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.

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Vic’s Statehouse Notes #354 Voucher expansion & ESAs are rolled into budget bill

The Indiana General Assembly is once again on the brink of increasing tax money sent to private and religious schools.

From the Indiana Coalition for Public Education
They put ESA’s in the House budget. Now ESA’s have to be kept out of the Senate budget!

ESA’s, the radical plan to give taxpayer money directly to home school parents – with no accountability, no check on extremists and no criminal background checks– were added to the House budget, House Bill 1001.

After passing House Bill 1005 to create ESA’s (Education Scholarship Accounts) and to expand private school vouchers, the supermajority Republican leadership added the same language to the budget bill.

This is a well known maneuver to prop up a controversial and increasingly unpopular proposal such as Education Scholarship Accounts. The leadership figures that all members of the caucus will vote for the budget bill so that those who support public education within Republican ranks can not derail the radical ESA plan.

School workers offered $100 to get shot

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
At Whitko Community Schools, it pays to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The 1,200-student district is using federal coronavirus relief dollars to reward employees with $100 once they submit a copy of their vaccination card showing they are fully vaccinated.

Superintendent Steve Darnell said the decision was “pure incentive,” adding the district wanted to do its part in reducing the threat of the coronavirus.

“Our administration wanted a way to encourage participation in all staff getting the vaccination,” Darnell said by email. “A neighboring district was offering a cash stipend that seemed to encourage their staff to be vaccinated. Meijer had stepped up and wanted to offer vaccinations to educators, so it became a natural next step to combine the two incentives of a stipend and a clinic to get the vaccine.”

Indiana will leave school mask mandate in place when statewide requirement ends

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana will continue to require that most teachers, students, and staff wear face coverings in school through the end of the academic year, even after the statewide mask mandate lifts April 6.

Outside of schools, face coverings and social distancing will remain recommended statewide, though not required, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Tuesday evening. As the state relaxes its coronavirus restrictions, local governments can still set stricter rules on mask requirements or capacity limits on social gatherings such as high school graduations or proms.

Holcomb also said he expects all Indiana schools to offer full-time in-person instruction at the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Report: How A Non-Profit Charter School Can Be Run For Profit

Beware of Not-for-Profit Charters. There are quite a few ways for them to make a profit from our tax dollars.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
It has become cliche for politicians and policy makers to oppose “for profit” charter schools. It’s also a safe stance, because most people agree they’re a bad idea; for-profit charter schools are not legal in almost all states.

But charter school profiteers have found many loopholes, so that while they may not be able to set up for-profit charters, they can absolutely run charter schools for a profit. That may seem like a distinction without a difference, but the difference is that one is illegal in almost all states, and the other, as outlined in a new report, can be found from coast to coast. The new report, “Chartered for Profit,” from the Network for Public Education examines the size and reach of “the hidden world of charter schools operated for financial gain.”

Rotary hears of FWCS program: Daniel touts plans for career pathways

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Mark Daniel left Parkview Field on Monday with souvenirs unrelated to baseball – business cards and vocal endorsements from people eager about Fort Wayne Community Schools' college and career readiness plans.

Daniel, the district's superintendent, told the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne about a career exploration program involving community partners and pipelines for in-demand industries in and around the city.

“I think we could really create an unbelievable program where Fort Wayne Community Schools should be recognized not just regionally but also throughout the state of Indiana,” Daniel said during the lunchtime meeting.
*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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