Monday, April 11, 2022

In Case You Missed It – April 11, 2022

Here are links to articles from the last two weeks 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 NEIFPE Blog is back after a sustained absence due to our blogger's bout with COVID-19.

The most popular articles on our social media from the last two weeks just happened to come from only two sources -- the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette** and the blog, Curmudgucation.

Time to catch up.

NACS tenure ends for Himsel

In a completely understandable move, Chris Himsel has turned in his resignation as superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools. Himsel has been targeted by so-called "parents' rights" patrons of the district (and some from outside the district) because he followed the state guidelines on mask-wearing during the pandemic. The attack expanded into a "hate-Himsel" campaign that covered censorship and Critical Race Theory in addition to student and community health.

Himsel has been a voice of reason in support of public education since he was hired. His retirement is a great loss to NACS. Hopefully, he will continue to use his voice to advocate for public education.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Northwest Allen County Schools board on Monday formally accepted Superintendent Chris Himsel's retirement along with the terms ending his 12-year tenure, allowing the district to begin searching for a new leader.

Himsel, who was not in attendance, said in a statement to The Journal Gazette that he was honored to serve exceptionally talented students with an extraordinary team.

“Together, we developed the talent and nurtured the creativity of each learner and made positive differences in the lives of the children we were blessed to serve,” said Himsel, who has been on medical leave since December.

High standards

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
In a letter to district employees, Himsel thanked them for the dedication and talent they bring with them to work each day and reminded staff what they had accomplished during his 12 years with NACS.

"We created a culture of service to and caring for others," Himsel began. He cited the district's Random Acts of Kindness clubs; the Champions Together program that models inclusivity; the Relay For Life cancer-awareness event it has hosted the past five years; and districtwide fundraisers for health and service organizations such as Erin's House for Grieving Children, Community Harvest Food Bank and Riley Hospital for Children.

"We created a culture of achievement," Himsel continued. He noted nearly 80% of NACS graduates earned college credit or a career credential in high school; the district's graduation rate has remained above 95% since 2011; and more than 50% of NACS students have earned honors diplomas since 2017. In 2010, when Himsel joined the district, just 28% of students graduated with an honors diploma.

Additional successes at NACS during Himsel's tenure include:

• Expanding summer school offerings and increasing options for students to earn high school credits while in middle school.

• Establishing before- and after-school tutoring.

• Starting full-day kindergarten.

• Implementing strategies to reduce student anxiety and encouraging them to persevere and overcome adverse childhood experiences.

• Balancing a general fund budget that, in 2010, had a debt of more than $6 million.

"These accomplishments, and many others, benefit each NACS child in some way," Himsel wrote. "Our accomplishments over the past 12 years reveal what can be achieved when nobody cares about who gets the credit while collectively focusing on meeting the needs of children. None of these accomplishments reflect the work of an individual, instead they exemplify the collaborative work of many."


Schools to welcome teacher residents

It's about time. This will be an incentive for young people to enter the field of education during a time of national teacher shortages.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The program, created in 2019, is modeled after medical residency and apprenticeship programs. It provides yearlong paid teaching experiences for student educators who plan on teaching kindergarten through 12th grade, the statement said.

It said students teach alongside an experienced mentor teacher, preparing them for the classroom after graduation. School corporations partner with Indiana colleges to execute the program in their district.


Proposal made for charter school

Another charter school wants to disrupt the education of children in the Fort Wayne area.

The charter application claims that the "majority of the schools [in the district] are low-performing." FWCS has a higher than state-average graduation rate...and even if they didn't, low-performing schools are a result of high poverty, not poor education. Furthermore, charter schools have not been shown to perform better than public schools.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Community members will soon get to weigh in on a new K-8 charter school eyed for Fort Wayne.

Fort Wayne Preparatory Academy wants to open in the 2023-24 academic year with 150 elementary students. Leaders plan to expand to the middle school grade levels : eventually serving 400 students, according to a 60-page application filed with the Indiana Charter School Board.

A public hearing about the proposed academy is set for 5:30 p.m. April 18 in the Globe Room of the Allen County Public Library, 900 Library Plaza downtown.


ICYMI: Can It Be April Already Edition (4/3)

Peter Greene offers up a compendium of notable readings from the previous week...another way to keep up with education news.

From Curmudgucation
...You can make sure you don't miss this weekly digest or any other scintillating posts by subscribing via the little box over in the right column (I have no idea where it is on your phone). There's also a Facebook page where you can catch all the writing I send out into the world.

So here's some reading for this week. Remember that if you think something is valuable and worthwhile, you can amplify by sharing the post through whatever avenues you use.


Moms For Liberty's Big Takeover Plans

The "parental rights" movement does not understand the purpose of public education in a free society. The public schools belong to the public, not the parents alone. Any parent should have the right to send their child to a private school if they choose, at their own expense.

From Curmudgucation
...the parental rights movement at its most extreme seems to have nothing at all to do with a children's rights movement. I'm a parent, and I absolutely get the rights and responsibilities that parents have to protect and guide their children, but there's a line past which it all starts to become creepy, as if you own this child and will engineer the tiny human to turn out to be exactly what you choose them to be, and much of the parental rights activist rhetoric lives close to that line. "I have total ownership and control of my child" is exactly how you get to the notion of "My child didn't turn out exactly the way I demanded they turn out, so somebody else must have messed with their head." Parental rights are a real thing, and parental responsibilities are a very real thing, but children are actual human beings and not lumps of clay to be crafted by other adult humans.
"Don't Say Gay" Reactions: Masks Off

The attacks on public education are coming fast and furious in preparation for the mid-term elections.

From Curmudgucation
The chilling effect is a major feature of the law, amplified by the enforcement of the law by parents. Florida has now given every parent the ability to interpret the law as they see fit (including whatever mom created that Tweet above). It doesn't matter if some bring nonsense suits that lose in court--school districts have neither the time nor the money to defend themselves from nonsense suits, and district administrators will continue putting the kibbosh on anything that might trigger their district's most anti-LGBTQ parents.

Ugly days ahead in Florida.

**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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