Monday, October 11, 2021

In Case You Missed It – October 11, 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.


Critical Race theory, teacher shortages, charters draining funds for public's all here this week.


There's a nationwide teacher shortage...and the pandemic has made it worse. Teachers are retiring early, leaving the profession, and there aren't enough new teachers in the pipeline to replace them all. The usual teaching areas are the worse...special education and math.

Before the pandemic, the Indiana anti-public education majority in the legislature was making arrangements to lower the qualifications for teaching in the state's public schools. Now that the shortage is growing, there will undoubtedly be more "emergency requirements" that will be enacted. At the same time, the federal government is cracking down on poorly trained special ed teachers.

Top Five Actions to Stop the Teacher Exodus During COVID and Beyond

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, schools across the United States are on the brink of collapse.

There is a classroom teacher shortage.

There is a substitute teacher shortage.

There is a bus driver shortage.

There is a special education aide shortage.

The people we depend on to staff our public schools are running away in droves.

It’s a clear supply and demand issue that calls for deep structural changes.

However, it’s not really new. We’ve needed better compensation and treatment of school employees for decades, but our policymakers have been extremely resistant to do anything about it.

Instead, they’ve given away our tax dollars to corporations through charter and voucher school initiatives. They’ve siphoned funding to pay for more standardized testing, teaching to the test, and ed tech software.

But the people who actually do the work of educating our youth. We’ve left them out in the cold.

Indiana will end emergency permits for special education teachers next year

Perhaps it’s time for Indiana to consider teaching students receiving special services more thoughtfully.

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana will stop issuing emergency permits for special education teachers after this school year, ending a long-standing practice that helps schools staff hard-to-fill positions.

The change, made to comply with federal regulations, comes as school districts grapple with staffing shortages worsened by COVID-19 and affects around 1,200 educators who will need to take additional steps toward their full licensure in order to stay in the classroom.

State officials informed schools in June about the looming cutoff. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015 tightened rules for special education teachers, prohibiting them from having licensure requirements waived on an “emergency, temporary, or provisional basis.”
96% of districts report teacher shortages: Number highest in 7 years, annual survey says

"The top six shortage areas remain the same, but there’s been a shift in the rankings. Those top areas are special education, math, science, elementary education, foreign languages and English."

From the Terre Haute Tribune Star
According to an annual survey, 96.5% of participating Indiana school districts reported teacher shortages, the highest in the seven years of surveying school corporations.

Disciplines most affected are special education and math, according to the survey done by Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education.

The 2021-22 survey had 199 participating school districts, including some charter schools; Indiana has 290 public school corporations.

“This year and last have brought more challenges than many previous [years],” said Terry McDaniel, ISU professor of educational leadership, who oversees the survey. “As a result, we are seeing educators being burned-out, scared, disappointed, and no longer enjoying the profession. We are also seeing fewer people entering the profession.”


Stressed FWCS to consider e-learning

Locally, Fort Wayne Community Schools is making plans to deal with "rolling blackouts" due to staff shortages including transportation, food service, custodial, and others in addition to instructional staff.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Staffing shortages are stressing Fort Wayne Community Schools to the point that district leaders are brainstorming remote-learning scenarios, Superintendent Mark Daniel said Tuesday.

The almost 30,000-student district is stretched thin across all departments, including food service and transportation, which is 72 bus drivers short, Daniel said. Further, he said, FWCS faces "major shortages" with substitute teachers.

He warned the audience watching his Facebook Live update that changes are likely looming.

"There will come a time when we cannot physically accommodate every student every day because we don't have personnel," Daniel said. "We've been stretching and stretching, and I think now we're to chewing gum on trying to fix things."


OH: Protect Our Children From Everything

The list of things that the movement against so-called "critical race theory" wants to prohibit is extensive and includes everything every right-wing, anti-public education, religious right activist has ever wanted including sex education, values clarification, social-emotional learning, and diversity training -- not to mention accurately teaching the history of race relations in the United States.

From Curmudgucation
CRT continues to be a catch-all for every complaint about public education ever, while also trying to generate discontent with public education, the better to fuel new attempts to simply get rid of it and replace it with a good-luck-you're-on-your-own marketplace even as taxpayers send money to religious schools. From complaints about critical race theory (which came after complaints about closed schools and mask mandates) we've moved on to the old refrain against everything that schools might teach that some conservative christianists disapprove of.

It would be a mistake for public education to take the stance that parents should shut up and sit down, but it would also be a mistake to let a small, vocal, albeit well-organized group intent on turning the clock back to a whitewashed version of 1955 decide what schools should do. The notion, as expressed by Mike Pompeo, that "parents should decide what their children are taught in school" is one more dismissal of educator expertise and a sure recipe for educational stagnation. I absolutely get the visceral fear of having your children grow up to be something foreign to your own beliefs and experience, but I don't get the notion that "don't let me children learn anything that I don't know myself" is a solution to anything. This is not freedom; this is a clumsy attempt to tie freedom up and gag it. Plus, I'll bet dollars to donuts that even as I type this, children are online googling items from the list of forbidden subjects. Good luck with that opt out thing.

Texas: The District Needed Funding for More Schools. Instead, the Commissioner Opened More Charter Schools

In Texas, much-needed public school funds have been diverted to charter schools.

From Diane Ravitch
Enrollments in the Cleveland Independent School District in Texas was growing rapidly. Voters passed bond issues, but it wasn’t enough. The superindent turned to the state for help. Sadly, Governor Gregg Abbott and his hand-picked State Commissioner Mike Morath are obsessed with charters, despite the fact that their academic results are below those of public schools.

Here is the sad story of Abbott and Morath’s devotion to charter expansion.


Nora de la Cour: For-Profit Remote Learning is a Disaster

From Diane Ravitch
Nora de la Cour is a high school teacher and writer. This article about the sham of for-profit remote instruction appeared in Jacobin. Study after study has demonstrated the poor results of virtual instruction, but the research does not deter the greedy entrepreneurs who see the profit in virtual charter schools. You may recall the recent press release from the National Alliance for Charter Schools about how charter schools increased enrollment by 250,000 during the pandemic; what the press release didn’t admit was that the “increase” was due entirely to growth in virtual charter enrollments, which may turn out to be a temporary response to the pandemic.

De la Cour sees the push for for-profit remote learning as another front in the privatization movement.

She begins...


Emails and Vampires [Updated]

Curmudgucation blogger, Peter Greene, has updated this post from three years ago about the Janus v. AFSCME decision. Sadly, it's still having an impact on teachers.

Although imperfect, teachers need their unions.

From Curmudgucation
It's almost as if this whole thing isn't about teachers' First Amendment right at all.

It's almost as if this was just a ploy to bust up the unions and make sure that teachers had even less voice in the world of education. It's almost as if this was a way to drain funds from the Democratic Party...

[Updates: First, I can confirm that the emails are hitting Pennsylvania, too, as confirmed by one in my wife's school email spam box that arrived yesterday.

Second, My Pay My Say has its very own Facebook page, so if you wanted to share some thoughts with them about their campaign, that would be a place to do it.]
*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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