Monday, April 12, 2021

In Case You Missed It – April 12, 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.

New Indiana budget proposal scales back private school voucher expansion

The Indiana Senate scaled back the increase in Indiana's voucher program proposed by the House of Representatives. Public school advocates and more than 170 school boards spoke out against the massive increase that the House proposed.

From Chalkbeat*
After a chorus of opposition from public school districts and advocates, Indiana Senate Republicans significantly scaled back an expansion of the state’s private school voucher program under their budget proposal Thursday.

The Senate plan would not extend private school vouchers to as many middle-class families as suggested in the House budget proposal and other legislation discussed this session. It also would dramatically curtail a proposal for education savings accounts, which would give stipends to parents of children with special needs who do not attend public schools.

The Senate would nonetheless make the state voucher program, which currently serves more than 36,000 students, more generous than it is currently. Students from a family of four earning nearly $110,000 per year could be eligible for vouchers under the Senate plan. It would raise the eligibility for new students to 200% of the subsidized meal income qualifications and 225% for returning students and those receiving special education, instead of the House’s proposed cap of 300%.

No Pause in Indiana's Push for Privatization

The Senate might have scaled back the House's massive gift to privatization, but an expansion of vouchers is still an expansion of vouchers.

From Live Long and Prosper
The bill now goes to a conference committee where House members will try to put back what the Senate took out. Speaker of the House Todd Huston, whose campaign contributions include $35,000 from Betsy DeVos's Hoosiers for Quality Education (see also here), said that the house will "be negotiating very aggressively" to get back what was taken out so they can satisfy their lust for privatization.

One might even think that the plan all along was for the House to propose an extreme expansion of vouchers, then have the Senate back off a bit to pacify public school advocates (and more than 170 school boards around the state), and settle on a more "modest" increase in voucher money and an ESA plan.

It's still an increase in Indiana's ever increasing move towards total privatization.

Scholars show how to challenge voucher discrimination

Steve Hinnefeld explains one possible way to fight against vouchers.

From School Matters
...supporters promote vouchers to expand opportunities for students and families. But, as the programs expand, state officials often enable them to deny those benefits to entire groups of students.

“Vouchers were sold as program that all could benefit from, but the anti-LGBT provisions give the lie to that statement,” Green said.

Charters vs. Vouchers

What's worse, Vouchers or Charters? Both have had their part to play in harming America's public schools, but one has more potential to destroy them altogether. Do you know which one it is? Peter Greene casts his vote.

From Curmudgucation
I have tried (I love a good thought experiment), but I cannot imagine a world with a voucher system that is not really a pay-your-own-way, two or three tier system (with the vestiges of public education occupying the lowest tier). Charters have adopted and tacked on free market ideology as a tool and a desired outcome, but vouchers cannot be separated from it, because the whole concept of vouchers is about replacing shared societal responsibility for maintaining a common good with opportunities for folks to make a buck. At the same time, the wealthy will still get the education they want for their children, while being freed of any requirement to help foot the bill for educating Those Peoples' Children. And I am unable to imagine--nor have I seen anyone propose--a voucher system that works otherwise.

PFW allowing student teachers to substitute for local school systems

Purdue University in West Lafayette modified its policy and now allows student teachers to get paid for substituting. Purdue Fort Wayne (PFW), follows suit.

From Fort Wayne's NBC
Back in March, Purdue modified its policy regarding student teachers working as paid substitutes.
“We knew our school partners were struggling with needing subs, so when we heard about Purdue’s move, we wanted to do the same. Student teachers pay full tuition for the experience of working full-time under the guidance of a mentor teacher – they do not get paid. I love that this provides an opportunity for our students to both help their schools and make a financially challenging semester a little easier.”

Isabel Nuñez, director of Purdue Fort Wayne’s School of Education

NACS teachers support masks: Union backs precautions as others voice opposition

The teachers of Northwest Allen County Schools take a stand on wearing masks.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
As parents lobby the Northwest Allen County Schools board to relax masking rules, teachers are speaking up in support of mask-wearing and other coronavirus precautions.

Such protocols make in-person instruction possible during the pandemic, protecting students from the greatest threat to their social and emotional health – isolation from classmates and teachers, the Northwest Allen County Education Association said in a statement.

“To safely achieve the 'in-person' structure, precautionary measures such as the wearing of masks and social distancing must be implemented and respected,” the union said. “These precautionary measures allow educators to effectively support the academic success and emotional health of the thousands of NACS students and families in our community.”

My Broken Heart

NPE President, Diane Ravitch, told her readers about her upcoming heart surgery.

From Diane Ravitch
I was born in 1938. I’m in pretty good health, considering my age. But one of the valves in my heart has a leak. It must be repaired. On April 8, I am having open heart surgery. The surgeon will break open my breastbone to reach my heart, then wire it back together. He assures me I will be fine, but fatigued, when it’s over.

I have tried to take it in stride, but it’s hard not to find it scary. Terrifying, actually.

Karen Francisco: Why I Fight to Save Public Schools

While she's recovering from heart surgery, Diane Ravitch asked others to write blog posts for her. In this piece, Karen Francisco, editorial editor of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**, chronicles her journey towards public school advocacy.

From Diane Ravitch
I wish I could say Indiana has seen some success in fighting off the privatization monster, but that’s far from the truth. More than $1 billion has now flowed to private and parochial schools through the voucher program, with no accountability. A scandal involving a virtual charter school cost taxpayers at least $85 million, with seemingly no concern from lawmakers or taxpayers. In the current legislative session, the Republican supermajority is throwing everything at school choice: income limits that make vouchers available to wealthy families, ESAs, full funding for online-only schools and more.

*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


No comments: