Monday, April 5, 2021

In Case You Missed It – April 5, 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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NACS parents urge board to unmask students

The Indiana state-wide mask mandate ends on April 6 when it becomes an "advisory." However, State office buildings and K-12 schools are still requiring masks. A group of parents at Northwest Allen County Schools are protesting, claiming that students don't need masks.

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Dozens of unmasked people filed into a Northwest Allen County school Monday, calling on district leaders to let their children and grandchildren do the same.

The showing at Perry Hill Elementary School represented a fraction of the 500 people united behind a movement dubbed Unmask NACS Students Now, parent Travis Striggle told the school board and district administration.

The audience, which briefly booed Superintendent Chris Himsel, seemed receptive to board President Kent Somers' idea of holding a public work session, likely in April, to address the district's coronavirus policies.

NACS won't back off using masks in schools

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Doctors still say wearing masks can stop the spread of the coronavirus, despite a throng of parents calling on Northwest Allen County Schools to drop its mandate.

Superintendent Chris Himsel remained steadfast to the mitigation strategy during Monday's school board meeting, and his district's largest neighbor is preparing a communication strategy reiterating the need to wear masks.
Holcomb disputes NACS parents on COVID

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he couldn't disagree more with the Northwest Allen County Schools parent who claimed the coronavirus is not a killer.

"This is a mass killer," Holcomb said during his weekly COVID-19 briefing. "There are over 6,000 folks that have lost their life to this virus just in our long-term care centers and twice that when you total 'em up."

...Dozens of unmasked adults attended a NACS board meeting Monday, calling on leaders to drop the mask mandate. They spoke for about an hour, relaying stories of children shamed and disciplined for not wearing masks properly and other alleged hardships, including skin irritations, the loss of facial communication and enabling shy children to hide.

Per Holcomb's order, the statewide mask mandate becomes an advisory Tuesday except for state government buildings and K-12 schools.


Huntington teachers hit vouchers

Republican legislatures around the country are pushing privatization of public education. Indiana already has a wide ranging voucher program, but has considered several bills this session which increase funding for private and parochial schools.

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Huntington County public school teachers didn't use a stamp or the internet to send a message Monday to state lawmakers about proposals that would divert more money from their classrooms and into private schools.

Instead, they framed their opposition to proposed voucher expansion and new Education Scholarship Accounts with their signatures on a full-page ad in The Journal Gazette.

The Huntington Classroom Teachers' Association titled its petition "Halt the Bait & Switch."

"Legislators have told school districts that they want to provide them with certainty, and those same legislators say they understand schools have had to adapt quickly to ensure continued student learning in the face of an unprecedented public health crisis," the union said. "But that is all lip-service when crucial funding is being diverted away from the 93% of Indiana's students that attend traditional public schools."

Beverly Cleary, Age 104

Children's author Beverly Cleary died at age 104 last week.

From Live Long and Prosper
Ramona was sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking, but never a parody. The characteristics that made Ramona so appealing to my students were the same characteristics that made her seem real. Even though the stories were made up, they were never outside the possibility of what could happen to them. Every child could relate to feelings of embarrassment when they made a mistake. Every child understands the anger at being patronized. Ramona expressed those feelings and made them acceptable.


Five Questions for Mark Daniel

FWCS Superintendent, Mark Daniel, answers questions about the district.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
1. You joined dozens of other Indiana superintendents in calling for suspension of ILEARN, the state's standardized test, this spring. Why?

As explained in our superintendent letter, the federal government is accepting state waivers in regard to the administration of state assessments like ILEARN because of the pandemic. Our hope was for Indiana state leaders to request a waiver eliminating ILEARN for this spring and replacing it with other assessments we currently give to our students. It is my understanding a waiver was requested in regard to the 95% completion rate rule and extended dates of administrating ILEARN.

This will assist us as FWCS has over 30% of its students attending school virtually, and the test must be given to students in person in our schools. Many parents are concerned and question if they will return their child(ren) to school in person to accommodate the testing protocol.
**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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