Monday, July 26, 2021

In Case You Missed It – July 26, 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 new Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.


Charter schools haven't provided the innovations promised. When charters were new they were going to be the labratories for discovering new ways to teach. Charters were going to fill in the gaps that public schools missed. After more than two decades, however, the charter school experiemnt has provided no new innovations and no increased performance when compared to public schools (and neither have private schools collecting state funds through vouchers).

Charters have provided hundreds of scandals and millions of lost tax dollars that should have gone to real public schools.

Read below how charter operators are whining about minimal regulations to help stop the flood of embezzlement, cheating, and the theft of America's tax dollars.

In addition, there's more evidence that charters choose their students, increase segregation, and don't perform better than public schools.

House Democrats Want to Bar Federal Funding of For-Profit Charter Schools, and Charter Lobby Goes Wild

From Diane Ravitch
The federal government has handed out billions of dollars to start new charter schools. The federal Charter Schools Program program started small, in 1994, with less than $10 million. At that time, based on hope, not evidence, charter schools, it was believed, would be more innovative, more accountable, and better than district public schools. Twenty-six years later, we know more, and we know that many charters fail, few are accountable, and precious little innovation has come from them. But the funding for the program has grown and grown. The federal government is now the biggest funder of new charters. Under Betsy DeVos, most of the annual appropriation of $440 million was doled out to charter chains, like KIPP and IDEA, not to teacher-led schools or mom-and-pop schools.

In 2019, the Network for Public Education issued reports based on federal data, showing that one of every three federally-funded charters closed soon after opening or never opened at all. (See here and here.) NPE also issued a report recently about the for-profit management companies that enrich themselves and their shareholders with public money intended for instruction.

Chris Lubienski: The Deceptive Language of School Choice

From Diane Ravitch
Chris Lubienski is a professor of education policy at Indiana University. He wrote recently with Amanda Potterton and Joe Malin about the deceptive rhetoric of school choice rhetoric. Thirty years ago, the school choice movement boasted that charters and vouchers would “save poor children from failing public schools.” They claimed that private schools outperform public schools. Now we know that school choice does not produce academic improvement for students; that many pick their students and discriminate against the children they don’t want. “Success” for school choice means expansion of charters and vouchers, not better education for students.
Last week, Forbes magazine published an article on how “School Choice Keeps Winning.” Interestingly, “winning” isn’t defined as helping kids learn. Indeed, the article avoids that issue because evidence indicates that school choice is actually failing on that front. Instead, Forbes uses the term to celebrate the expansion of choice programs in many GOP-led states.

Economists Worry Covid-19 May End Standardized Testing Altogether

Could the silver lining of the COVID-19 cloud be that we finally end the misuse and overuse of standardized testing?

From Gadfly on the Wall
The sky is falling for standardized test enthusiasts.

Economists Paul Bruno and Dan Goldhaber published a paper this month worrying that the Coronavirus pandemic may increase pressure to end high stakes testing once and for all.

The paper is called “Reflections on What Pandemic-Related State Test Waiver Requests Suggest About the Priorities for the Use of Tests.” It was written for The National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) – a Walton funded, pro standardized testing policy concern.

It’s easy to see why Bruno (who also taught middle school) and Goldhaber (who did not) are distressed.

Last school year President Joe Biden forced districts nationwide to give standardized assessments despite the raging Covid-19 pandemic.


White Evangelicals Want to Destroy the Public Schools

In 1979, Jerry Falwell (Sr.) said,
I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won't have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!
His philosophical and religious descendants are still trying to damage public education.

From Diane Ravitch
Katherine Stewart’s new book The Power Worshippers describes the hostility of evangelical Christians to public schools. I reviewed her book along with two others in the New York Review of Books. One of the most interesting insights in her book is that white evangelicals at first tried to mobilize public opinion to protect the tax-exempt status of segregated private schools and universities. When that didn’t work, they found another issue that did: abortion.

But they have never given up on their goal of public funding for religious schools that were free to discriminate and the elimination of public schools.

Education and the Self-Service Thunderdome

Curmudgucation blogger Peter Greene comments about the increase in self-service stores...specifically at Walmart...and how privatizers (including the Walton family) are working hard to make America's education system "self-serve."

From Curmudgucation
I'm not opposed to self-service on principle. I do not, for instance, miss gas station attendants at all (you youngsters can go ask your parents or grandparents what they were). Rather than explain to someone what I want and then wait for them to do it, it's far simpler to just get out of the car and do it myself. But what value is added by having me do my own swiping across a bar code reader?

In fact, as we're having the chance to view across many businesses these days, "self-service" is a pretty euphemism for "reduced service."

It's the dawn of retail thunderdome, in which the retailer provides customers with virtually no service at all except for a building, a marketplace in which to hunt, as best your able, for what you are able to find. Need help? Holler fruitlessly at the surveillance cameras. Can't find what you want? Not their problem--you're welcome to choose from whatever they decide to put on the shelves. Customer, you are on your own.

If this model seems vaguely familiar, that's because it's the same model at the heart of modern school choice. It is self-service education, an "ecosystem" in which customers are on their own, without aid or assistance or even anyone to make sure that the available options are safe. Nobody around to watch out for their interests but themselves. Caveat your own emptor, buddy. Here's a tiny voucher to help you feel as if the community hasn't abandoned you entirely, but once we hand you that voucher, we wash our hands of you.


The Venn diagram of those who are against teaching evolution, those who are against teaching facts about the racial history of the United States, those shouting the loudest against the "tyranny" of having students wear masks during a pandemic, and those refusing to get vaccinated, is nearly a perfect circle.

America - Exceptionalism or Ignorance?

From Live Long and Prosper
Many of the same science-denying activists and legislators who are trying their best to "protect" American school children from climate change, public health efforts, and evolution, are now trying to "protect" students from actual history which doesn't always present the "American Experience" in a good light.

Instead of teaching children that the freedoms so eloquently described in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution should be taken as goals, not reality...that such freedoms were not available to women, native people, and hundreds of thousands of Africans and their descendants enslaved throughout the entire country, they want us to focus on "American Exceptionalism" -- that the USA is somehow God-ordained to lead the world morally as well as militarily. Somehow, if we hide the ugly side of our history it will be ignored and forgotten.

...There is a concerted effort on behalf of many Americans to hide the truth from our children...the truth about science, and the truth about our history. How "exceptional" can America be when we're sending our children to school and encouraging them to remain ignorant?

Ohio Governor Signs Bill To Ban Schools and Universities from Requiring COVID Vaccinations

From Diane Ravitch
America, we have a problem. The COVID is spreading, largely through a highly contagious variant called Delta, but only 48.3% of the population is vaccinated. More than 600,000 Americans have died. In five states—Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Wyoming, and Louisisna—less than 36% are vaccinated.

Despite the resurgence of this deadly disease, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed legislation barring schools and universities from excluding unvaccinated students. The results are predictable: more hospitalizations, more deaths.

GOP legislators say they prefer to wait until the vaccines have received full approval from the Centers for Disease Control. The three in wide use-Moderna, Pzifer, and J&J-were approved on an emergency basis by the CDC and have been highly effective.


FWCS partnerships help students

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Placing FWCS teachers at various community sites – the Euell A. Wilson Center, Parks and Recreation centers, YMCA locations and other Boys and Girls Clubs facilities – for two four-week sessions is a first for the 30,000-student district, said Matt Schiebel, a secondary education director.

The effort helps broaden FWCS' summer reach to children not participating in Jump Start, the district's academically focused K-8 summer program at Blackhawk and Memorial Park middle schools, Schiebel said.

The school district's renewed focus on summer learning followed a nontraditional school year marked with remote learning, quarantines and other challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
**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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