Monday, August 30, 2021

In Case You Missed It – August 30, 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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Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

Number one this week is still the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on local and national schools. We also include articles on privatization and vouchers, testing, a new program that FWCS is exploring, and how school reform is changing.

Thank you for your support of public education.


‘I’m worried about our schools’ ability to stay open’: Allen County health commissioner

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is having an impact locally and around the state, and it is affecting children.

In the past month, more children have been infected with the coronavirus and some are hospitalized here, Dr. Sutter said.

Sutter says hospitals in northeast Indiana are strained, not overwhelmed, but says if the trend continues, they certainly could be.

He says if hospitals do get overwhelmed, that's when he would consider issuing new restrictions or mandates.

"I don't have a hard number at which I would write a public health order, and again, any public health order that I write has to be approved by the county commissioners," he said.

He says over the past month, more children have been infected with the coronavirus and some are hospitalized here.

Reader: Parents Do Not Have the “Right” to Opt-Out of Public Health Measures

A reader of Diane Ravitch's blog comments on the responsibility we all have in society. We're all in this together.

From Diane Ravitch
I wear a mask for the same reason I drive on the correct side of the freeway. I wear a mask for the same reason I drive on the road instead of on the sidewalk. I wear a mask because it helps protect my young grandson who has a heart condition and lives in my home. I wear a mask because it is the right and intelligent thing to do.

No one has the right to put the lives of others at risk by not masking up or being vaccinated.

The Battle Against Reality and Science Intensifies
From Diane Ravitch
Yet, there are millions of people who refuse to be vaccinated and who vigorously protest any effort to mandate masks or vaccinations. They try to intimidate those who disagree with them, and even when they are a minority, they often succeed by their bullying tactics. Even when they are a majority, should their right to be free of masks and vaccinations take precedence over the rights of other parents who want their children to be safe from a deadly virus? I think not.

FWCS looks into program

Fort Wayne Community Schools is considering starting a program that brings collaboration between the business community and local secondary schools.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Jack Harris, 3DE president and CEO, joined the board meeting via video conference to explain the basics.

Generally, he said, students in grades nine through 11 are given a real-world business problem written by a local or national business partner every five weeks. Students work in small groups to research and analyze the challenge and present their solution to the company.

Using this learning method makes lessons more relevant and engaging for students, officials said.

Yarian provided this hypothetical example: Sweetwater wants a new distribution center in Thailand, Britain or Sweden. Students would evaluate the countries' potential based on factors such as their social and political environment and distribution costs, she said.

“Every subject matter has a piece of the pie,” Yarian said.

Students in 12th grade get an experience akin to an internship, Harris said.


Jeb Bush Gets It Wrong

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush hasn't given up on his dream of privatizing all public education. In this piece, Peter Green shows the anti-teacher aspect of Bush's proposals, his deep misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about what actually goes on in a 21st-century American school, and his misinformation about charter schools.

From Peter Greene at Curmudgucation
Earlier this month, Jeb Bush released an op-ed to argue against "cuts" (more on that in a moment) to federal spending on charter schools. It's loaded with specious arguments. Let's tick off the items

First, Bush argues that our current education is designed as
a one-size-fits-all factory model of education, created in the 1890s to build a workforce for a factory-model economy.
The "factory model" rhetoric has been debunked many times, but Bush's variation is particularly silly. At the dawn on the 20th century, the enrollment rate for 5 through 19 year olds was around 30% for Blacks and 60% for Whites. Nobody was in school to "build a workforce," because the workforce was composed primarily of people who had not finished school; child labor was everywhere, and it took several decades in the 20th century to pass federal child labor laws. In short, factories were not depending on or even much looking for high school graduates.

Comment: The End of School ‘Reform’

Diane Ravitch's comment about this article in her blog..."Ed Reform has no successful strategies or ideas, but its billionaire funders and the U.S. Department of Education continue to fund its failed ideas."
While Jeff Bryant cheers the news that school "reform" is dying, he reminds us that it's not all good news. We still have the current culture war against Critical Race Theory and, expansion of vouchers to fight against.

From Jeff Bryant in The Progressive
...stories highlight the waning of three “school improvement” approaches: strict accountability with private management, mayoral control, and no-excuses charter schools. Each approach was among the pillars of “education reform” favored by previous presidential administrations and heartily endorsed by Washington, D.C., policy shops, such as the Center for American Progress.

...[these] stories also contribute to the much larger narrative of how the once all-pervasive and generously funded policy movement known as education reform has ended—not with a bang, but a whimper.

Other policy directives of the reform movement that are also being relegated to the dustbin of history include state takeovers of low-performing schools, evaluating teachers based on student test scores, and flunking third-graders who score below a certain threshold on reading exams.

While colleges go test-optional, Indiana juniors prepare for a new SAT requirement

While colleges and universities are backing away from standardized tests as entrance exams, Indiana is doubling down, helping to keep the College Board and Educational Testing Service in business.

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana juniors, who were freshmen when the COVID-19 pandemic first closed schools, will experience another first next spring: They will be required to sit for the SAT.

At a time when many colleges and universities are dropping standardized test scores from their application considerations, Indiana will instead require all juniors to sit for the test as one possible path to graduation.


Textbooks in Voucher Schools, and other topics

Public tax dollars are being used to teach children anti-science, religious, and right-wing propaganda.

Other items in this NEIFPE member's blog include the New York Times and Disclosures, first responders and COVID-19, a missed month of blogging, protecting one's air-space, and knowing your rights regarding religion in public schools.

From Live Long and Prosper
Here in Indiana, and in many other private-school-voucher-allowing states, kids are learning that humans lived with dinosaurs and that slaves were immigrants...using public funds.
As Americans fight over wildly distorted descriptions of Critical Race Theory–a manufactured culture war “wedge issue” employed by parents fighting against more inclusive and accurate history instruction- -the article correctly points out that there has been virtually no attention paid to the curricula of private schools accepting vouchers.

...The U.S. Constitution gives parents the right to choose a religious education for their children. It does not impose an obligation on taxpayers to fund that choice, and we continue to do so at our peril.
*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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