Monday, August 2, 2021

In Case You Missed It – August 2, 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.

The for-profit charter school problem

Non-profit charter schools are not always non-profit.

From Jeff Bryant in Alternet
The top lobbying group for the charter school industry is rushing to preserve millions in funds from the federal government that flow to charter operators that have turned their K-12 schools into profit-making enterprises, often in low-income communities of color.

The group, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS), objects to a provision in the House Appropriations Committee's proposed 2022 education budget that closes loopholes that have long been exploited by charter school operators that profit from their schools through management contracts, real estate deals, and other business arrangements. NAPCS also objects to the legislation's proposal to cut 9 percent from the federal government's troubled Charter Schools Program (CSP).

The House budget proposal, which was passed out of the majority Democratic committee "in a party-line vote," according to the Hill, has been praised by numerous education groups, including the National School Boards Association, the National Education Association, and the National Center for Learning Disabilities, for, among many things, more than doubling Title I funding for schools serving low-income children, providing over $3 billion more to educate students with disabilities, and increasing federal spending on K-12 education programs, Education Week reports.


We Don’t Need More ADVICE on How to Safely Reopen Schools. We Need RULES.

We don’t need advice. We need rules.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
This week the CDC changed its advice to all staff, students and teachers when schools reopen. Instead of wearing masks in schools only when unvaccinated, people should wear masks regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated or not.

This is necessary to protect children who aren’t eligible for the vaccine and slow the spread of new more infectious variants of the virus, representatives said.

The problem is that too many Americans don’t listen to advice – especially if it goes against their beliefs.

And there are a significant number of Americans who believe whatever crazy nonsense talk radio, Fox News or their savior Donald Trump tell them.

Immunologists talking about infectious disease just don’t rate.

So these people aren’t going to listen to the CDC’s advice.

That presents real problems both for them and for us.

Can We Close The Billionaire Learning Gap?

“As an educator, I have to ask-- why can't Billy and Mark learn? Are their personal circumstances interfering? Is it family of origin issues? Do they have special needs that aren't being met?”

From Curmudgucation
Let's talk about the billionaire learning gap. Let's talk about how certain really rich people who have an apparently uncontrollable urge to fiddle with education and yet remain rank amateurs who still haven't learned things about education that the average third-year teacher already knows.

We have to talk about this because here they come again. The Gates Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the Walton Family Foundation have announced that they are ponying up $200 million for yet another education initiative.


There’s New Data On Last Year’s Student Learning Loss. Let’s Not Draw The Wrong Conclusions.

Learning loss (or unfinished learning) is a made-up concept designed to make money for testing companies and unscrupulous marketers of learning materials.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
This week, both NWEA (a testing company) and McKinsey and Company (a consulting firm) released reports examining “learning loss” (now being rebranded as “unfinished learning,” a marginally more accurate term). The bottom line is that test scores in math and reading went up over the course of last year, but not as much as in previous years.

Both Chalkbeat (a publication that regularly covers education) and the New York Times (which did not assign an education reporter to the story) were there with coverage this morning. Both studies looked at student test score gains from last year and compared them to other years, finding that students did raise their scores between the beginning and the end of the year, but not as much as students in previous years. They further noted that the wealthier the district, the closer students came to a previous years’ gains.

As this story works its way through the media, there are a couple of important points to remember.

First, NWEA and McKinsey are both businesses with products to market in the education sector. The NYT chose to use the language or marketers, framing the results as showing “months behind,” a framing designed to alarm parents (”There’s a race going on and your kid is behind!! Quick—buy something to fix it!”).

Second, always remember that no matter how these results are framed, we are talking about the results of a standardized test of reading and math, not a full measure of all learning. Researchers have repeatedly demonstrated that test results are predictors of demographics, so don’t assume they mean what some folks—the same folks who use them to drive business—tell you they mean.

FWCS working to fill all positions

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools is "pulling out all the stops" to ensure positions are filled when the district welcomes its almost 30,000 students to classes next month, a central office administrator said Monday.

The district needs people across departments, including in classrooms and transportation, administrators said after the school board meeting.

"We've had a surge of resignations," Superintendent Mark Daniel told the board. "Hiring, however, is keeping pace with these demands."

The board approved four teacher retirements and 24 teacher resignations, but it hired 36 educators, according to the personnel report.

"I'm very pleased with what I'm hearing from (human resources)," Daniel said.

New NACS school comes together

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Superintendent Chris Himsel paused while visiting an elementary school to note the time – about 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, exactly three weeks until the first day of classes. He already encountered two teachers prepping their rooms, and he would encounter two more before leaving.

Summertime classroom preparations aren't unusual, but these Northwest Allen County Schools educators had a particularly good reason to be there on a sunny July day – they're starting from scratch at Aspen Meadow Elementary School.

The school will welcome its first students – about 450 in all – Aug. 11.

**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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