Monday, September 13, 2021

In Case You Missed It – September 13, 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.

Two Allen County school systems, NACS and EACS, have decided to ignore the science (and their respective educational leaders) and stay mask "optional." See this article for information on masks in school, from last week's In Case You Missed It.

We also have articles about former Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who wants to increase class sizes for "the best" teachers, and the continued privatization of America's public schools.


2 districts turn down masking mandates: Emotions high as EACS, SACS boards defy leaders

Bowing to threats of pressure from vocal anti-mask patrons, the school boards of East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools have chosen to ignore the science and risk COVID-19 outbreaks among their students and staff.

The two other public school systems in Allen County -- Fort Wayne Community Schools and Northwest Allen County Schools -- are currently under mask mandates.

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Masks remain optional in two Allen County districts despite superintendents' efforts Tuesday to reinstate mandates.

The proposals at East Allen County Schools and Southwest Allen County Schools were in reaction to Gov. Eric Holcomb's action last week that loosened quarantine rules for symptom-free students, teachers and staff in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case – but only if schools mandated masks.

SACS board's authority disputed: County health leader: Can't alter state quarantine rules

The Governor released new rules earlier this month to incentivize masking. Southwest Allen County Schools has tried to manipulate those rules without invoking a mask mandate.

A free article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Southwest Allen County Schools board does not have the authority to create less stringent quarantine rules than the state, the county's highest public health official said Wednesday.

Dr. Matthew Sutter, the Allen County health commissioner, was reacting to the five-member board's decision Tuesday to adjust quarantine rules while maintaining a mask-recommended policy. In a 4-1 vote, the board agreed close contacts won't have to quarantine if both the exposed person and infected person were wearing masks during the exposure.

“Since the quarantine rules are set at the state level, neither the local school boards nor local health departments have the authority to create less stringent rules than the state,” Sutter said in a statement. “We are actively engaged in discussions on this issue and will continue to work toward consistency in following state requirements.”

Arne Duncan and Pedagogical Badger Hats

Arne is still “at it.” This time he's on TV touting a plan to have "the best teachers" -- the "Albert Einstein algebra teachers," for example -- teach 10s or 100s of thousands of students virtually. Class time with a real person, apparently a lower-paid, non-Albert Einstein-type person, would be used for tutorials and small groups. This, Curmudgucation (aka Peter Greene) says, is a dumb idea. "It's not a new idea--reformsters have dreamed of this world where we pay fewer teachers to teach more students."

The rest of this piece is a must-read. Duncan and Zakaria, two non-educators with no teaching experience, talking about how to teach during "normal" times would be bad enough. During these more difficult-for-students-and-teachers-to-cope times, it's ridiculous.

From Curmudgucation
Arne Duncan was at it again, popping up on Fareed Zakaria's CNN show to talk about post-covid education (looking kind of Herman Munster-ish on his Zoom screen).

Much of his shtick was predictable. Students are months behind (which actually means, of course, scores on the Big Standardized Test are down, we think). We have to meet their social emotional needs, as we accelerate learning (just, you know, teach faster, because teachers have been holding back all these years).

Zakaria says/asks, the "digital economy" did awesome in most sectors, but in education learning-through-a-screen didn't really deliver. Howcum?


New Hampshire: Republicans Laud New Voucher Program While Ignoring International Evidence

New Hampshire's new voucher program is part of a "Shock-Doctrine-esque" privatization increase brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic including a substantial increase in Indiana's "investment" in private schools*. "Disaster Capitalism" is playing out as we watch.

From Diane Ravitch
Jeanne Diestch, a former Democratic state senator in New Hampshire, recently wrote about the attention showered on the state’s new voucher program by Republican conservatives like Mike Pompeo, a likely Presidential candidate, and Betsy DeVos. Republicans took control of the New Hampshire legislature until 2020; its Governor, Chris Sununu, is a Republican, and he appointed the state’s commissioner of education, Frank Edelblut, who homeschooled his children. Republicans wasted no time in passing a sweeping voucher bill.

US Conservatives Eyeing NH Vouchers

Diestch wrote in her newsletter...

*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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