Monday, May 17, 2021

In Case You Missed It – May 17, 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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Do Americans Overwhelmingly Hate "Woke" Policies?

A biased education poll is trying to drum up support from the conservative base for political purposes. Always check sources of polls and the collection of and interpretation of data from those polls.

Peter Greene provides an excellent critique of this biased poll...

From Curmudgucation
You may recall that Parents Defending Education recently burst on the scene as the latest education astroturf, this time tilted hard right. Their battle against "indoctrination" in schools now includes a new weapon--a poll, which they're touting under the headline "Americans Overwhelmingly Reject 'Woke' Race and Gender Policies in K-12 Education." (Have we reached the point yet where "woke" is used like "politically correct"-- only by people trying to denigrate a straw version of the ideas that it supposedly represents?)

There is, of course, a fine art to writing polls, particularly if you're looking for a particular result (and it's fair to both sides that art). "Would you rather lick a toad or kiss an attractive model" becomes "Americans overwhelming dream of making out with famous models--is American marriage in trouble?" And that's pretty much what's happening here. We'll dig a bit deeper into the results in a bit, but lets look at tyhe marquee results that are being blasted across the interwebz.

Texas GOP Passes Bill To Stop Teachers From Talking About Racism

Avoiding current events and controversial topics is no way to engage future citizens.

From HuffPost
Republicans in the Texas House passed a bill Tuesday that effectively bans public school teachers from talking about racism, white supremacy or current news events.

The bill, which is being fast-tracked to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to sign into law, states that social studies and civics teachers aren’t allowed to discuss the concept that “one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” or the idea that “an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, bears responsibility for actions committed in the past by other members of the same race or sex.”

It also states that social studies and civics teachers “may not be compelled to discuss current events or widely debated and currently controversial issues of public policy or social affairs” as part of a course.


New Indiana teacher training program offers 3 college degrees for $45,000 or less

After years of making teaching more difficult and less attractive, the Indiana General Assembly adds yet another path to teaching. Will this newest plan make up for the lack of respect pro-privatization lawmakers have for teachers?

From Chalkbeat*
Looking to bolster the size and diversity of Indiana’s teaching force, a new program will offer education students three degrees for the price of one.

The program, created through a partnership between Marian University and Ivy Tech Community College, will enable students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degree in five years. Students in the cadet teaching program, which lets them complete the first year of courses for free in high school, can do it in four.

Students will complete the associate degree at Ivy Tech, which typically takes two years. Next they will transfer from Ivy Tech to the Klipsch Educators College at Marian University, where they will earn a bachelor’s degree after another two years. A free one-year master’s degree program and a year of paid clinical residency in an Indiana classroom will follow.

Fewer grads enrolling in college

Why are fewer secondary students setting their sights on higher education?

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
After years of steady declines, the percentage of college-bound high school graduates plunged to its lowest point in more than a decade. Of the 2019 graduates, 59% enrolled in education after high school, down from 61% the previous year, according to a recent report by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education.

The college-going rate has been steadily declining since 2015, when it was 65%, the agency said, "but this is the largest drop year-to-year."

The commission expects the decline will continue in the 2022 Indiana College Readiness Report considering fall 2020 enrollment for two- and four-year public colleges dropped by 13% and 4%, respectively.

2021 Medley #6 - We Slide into Superstition and Darkness

Read this post for examples of why we need to focus on science literacy.

From Live Long and Prosper
Carl Sagan's 1995 book, The Demon-Haunted World, is prescient in its description of the world 26 years into its future -- superstition, lack of critical thinking, the inability to question, the inability to distinguish between truth and falsehood...
I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness.


After repealing consequences for failing schools, Indiana will revisit A-F grades

Notice that Indiana may be considering adding to our students’ testing loads.

From Chalkbeat*
The change represents a shift in philosophy for the state, from holding schools accountable for providing a quality education by using the threat of intervention. Instead, the state will prioritize transparency. And the movement is expected to trickle down to affect how A-F grades themselves are calculated.

“It’s a shift in mindset,” said State Board of Education General Counsel Chad Ranney. “I think it will certainly influence the final product the board will put out.”

For example, the board may grade different aspects of a school’s performance, such as its graduation rate or attendance, in addition to an overall grade. That could make it easier for parents to compare schools on a more detailed level, Ranney said.

The new statute also encourages board members to add test scores for science and social studies to the formula, which currently relies heavily on scores for English and math. But board members will have to balance expanding the formula to better capture a school’s performance with making it too complicated and difficult to understand.

FWCS teachers, staff awarded up to $2k in stipends thanks to COVID-19 relief funds

Bonuses have been ratified for close to 4,000 Fort Wayne Community Schools employees, extra pay they are being awarded for work done and challenges met during the pandemic.

The district's board of school trustees voted Monday evening to authorize the $1,000 to $2,000 stipends.

The bonuses would impact teachers, administrators, food service workers, bus drivers and others.

The money to pay the stipends comes from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER II) funds, authorized as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

Salaried teachers and administrators who worked the full school year are in line to receive $2,000, while all other salaried employees and school-based hourly staff are scheduled to receive $1,500 checks.

Other hourly-based staff will receive $1,000 stipends.
*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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