Monday, December 20, 2021

In Case You Missed It – December 20, 2021

Here are links to articles from the last two weeks that received 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.

Without question, the most widely read post from the last two weeks was the editorial announcing the retirement of The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette's editorial editor, Karen Francisco. Below the following excerpt, there's a link to a post by Diane Ravitch...which, in turn, links to a post that Francisco wrote for Ravitch's blog.

The Fort Wayne area has been lucky to have Karen Francisco as an advocate for public education. While we at NEIFPE wish her well in her well-deserved retirement, she will be missed.

'The quiet and thoughtful voices'

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
This is a good stopping point for a 40-year career in newspaper journalism. In two Indiana cities and at three newspapers, it's been a fascinating and fulfilling job on both the news and opinion sides of the newsroom. Thank you to everyone who has shared your time and stories. Thanks to all who have contributed letters, op-ed columns and comments about what I've written. Thank you to my co-workers and editors and, especially, to Journal Gazette President Julie Inskeep, whose unwavering support for opinion journalism is increasingly rare in this industry.

You can read about my successor on Page 14A. I know he shares my belief that our editorial pages can make a positive contribution toward a better city, region and state.

I'm now looking forward to days without deadlines and to moving close to loved ones. I'll continue to follow the news here and wish the best for all who call it home.

Thank You, Karen Francisco!

From Diane Ravitch
Indianans will miss her.

All of us who believe that public schools belong to the public will miss her too!

In April, when I was scheduled to have open heart surgery, I asked a number of friends to write something original for the blog to keep it alive in my absence.

Karen Francisco wrote this one, which I scheduled on the day of my surgery, April 8, called “Why I Fight to Save Public Schools.”


Another Day Another Charter Scandal

This holiday season, the Network for Public Education is bringing you 12 Days of Charter Scandals to celebrate their new, free research tool.

Look up #AnotherDayAnotherCharterScandal by state, by category, or by search term.


When a Charter Network Discriminated Against My Daughter, I Fought Back

Charter schools often claim to be public schools -- when it's to their advantage, but they are not. Charters and private schools and, apparently, have the right to reject some students.

From Public Voices for Public Schools
My oldest had just started first grade when our lottery number came up and I received a call from the charter school. We were living on the north side of Scottsdale, Arizona and had been looking for school options for my then five year old. Great Hearts Academies, a chain of charter schools, immediately caught our attention with their advertising and the claims they made regarding student achievement. And so we joined their waiting list. More than a year later, the school called to tell us we were in. “You have two days to decide.”

Our visit the next day impressed us. Orderly children, all in uniform, seemingly well mannered and happy. We opted out of our district school then and there and enrolled at Great Hearts. And things went well for a couple of years, so well in fact that I hoped to send my youngest, then four, there for her kindergarten year.

That all changed at the start of 2016 when Great Hearts rolled out a new policy targeting transgender kids. Written with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ law foundation with close ties to the charter network’s founder, Great Hearts’ “Biological Sex and Gender Policy” was the most anti-trans student policy in the country. The ignorance of the new policy was striking, but for me, the issue was personal. My youngest daughter is transgender. Thanks to this policy, it would be impossible for her to go to this school, be successful, and be herself.

  • Starve Public Schools
  • Claim They Have Failed
  • Send Public Funds to Private Schools
Missouri Parent to Legislature: Don’t Defund Our Rural Schools with Charters and Vouchers

Another state goes down the failed road of privatization.

From Diane Ravitch
I tell you the story of rural schools because we are in a fight to keep our public schools funded and open in Missouri. In my state, we are 49th in funding for public schools. We don’t provide public schools with enough for the basics. The state funds just 32% of schools’ budgets, which means that residents must pay for the bulk of their local school expenses through property taxes. That means that our system is highly inequitable. The defunding of Missouri public schools has happened over the last decade, but has been on warp speed in the last five years. The school funding formula was adjusted to lower the amount a few years back, meaning we lowered the funding bar to be able to claim we met the bar. And now, even more bad news for Missouri rural schools: a voucher scheme.


The state or districts? Indiana lawmakers weigh who should have the authority to license teachers

Over the last two decades, the Republican-dominated Indiana legislature has enacted a series of laws guaranteed to discourage young people from becoming teachers in Indiana public schools. Teachers no longer have seniority, collective bargaining has been seriously limited, and Indiana's average starting salary, average salary, and per pupil spending are all in the bottom third of the USA.

Last year, the Governor's Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission released it's report on ways to increase salaries which the commission stated was 18 percent below the national average. Among the suggestions were
  • Encourage and implement expense reallocation measures, so more dollars currently spent on other needs can be redirected to teacher salaries,
  • Increase sources of revenue available for teacher pay, and
  • Improve teacher compensation-related policies.
While the Governor has promised Indiana tax payers a refund of $125, there doesn't seem to be enough money for the state to invest much in its public school teachers.

From Chalkbeat*
Indiana lawmakers on Tuesday debated giving school districts the authority to license their own educators as a solution to ongoing teacher shortages.

The Interim Study Committee on Education discussed the topic as part of its charge to recommend ways to deregulate state education policies.

Final recommendations approved on Tuesday ask the Indiana Department of Education to provide input on “streamlining workforce programs and licensing and other regulatory requirements for teachers,” among ten other recommendations.

Also see New Orleans Tribune: No One Wants to be a Teacher Anymore, No-Duh!

Do Not Forget the True Purpose of School
The Tip Of The Weisberg

*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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