Monday, May 16, 2022

In Case You Missed It – May 16, 2022

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.

Are charter schools public or private schools? When it comes to gathering funds, charters claim to be public schools. When it comes to profit, they want to be private. Peter Greene and Diane Ravitch explain.

In the Fort Wayne area, we read about the South Side High School centennial as well as a textbook controversy in NACS.

Finally, Americans love music but don't have a problem with underfunding music programs.


Can We Finally Have The Necessary Debate About Charter Schools

Are charter schools private schools? Should they be able to operate at a profit? Who's responsible when there are problems? Is there a publicly elected school board?

From Curmudgucation
Are charter schools public schools, or private businesses?

The pitch has always been that charter schools are public schools, that they are "laboratories of education" that would enrich the entire "education ecosystem." But that promise has existed beside the reality that charters have conducted themselves largely like businesses, holding onto their "proprietary information" and opening and closing for reasons that have more to do with business decisions than concern about the local education ecosystem.

The proposed rule changes highlight this dichotomy. To increase their chances of getting a chunk of grant money from the federal Charter School Program (CSP), new charter schools would have to do the following...

The Founders Wanted Public Schools, Not Charter Schools or Vouchers

The "common good" was a goal of the US Founders. Do charter and voucher schools fill the need for a "common good?"

From Diane Ravitch
The charter lobby—the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools—has been fighting furiously to block proposed regulations by the U.S. Department of Education that would ban federal funding of for-profit charter schools and white-flight charters. They have received sympathetic editorials, repeating the falsehoods that these sensible regulations would harm all charter schools (they won’t). Their ads are even on national television (I saw one last night on a cable news station), falsely claiming that the regulations are a direct attack on charter schools (they are not).

Who knew that the charter trade association would resort to outright lies to protect low-quality for-profit charter operators and keep federal funding available to open new white-flight charters? The regulations have zero effect on existing charters. They affect only the federal funding spent to open new charters, $440 million a year, which has been recklessly spent on for-profit chains and on charters that never opened or closed soon after opening. Why waste federal money on grifters and entrepreneurs?

By their lies, you shall know them.


Musicians Aren't Hatched

We value music here in the US, but treat school music as a "frill."

From Curmudgucation
We have a weird, dichotomous relationship with music in this country. On the one hand, we consider it a necessity. We'll shell out money for streaming services, require a sound system in our cars, and readily embrace each new advance of technology that allows us to include more music in our personal bubble. Some of us pay big bucks to hear music live. And we expect music to enrich everything else--television, movies, gaming, advertising, every public and private occasion. Most of us do not go a day without it; many of us don't even go a waking hour without it.

And yet, we continue to treat music education as some sort of extra, like a lace doily to set under a piece of cake, and not the cake itself. It is always treated as expendable, as something that's not so necessary. Sometimes the cutting is truly non-sensical. I've heard more than one tale of a district that doesn't want to hurt its high school marching band program, so they cut back on elementary programs instead, as if marching band members will somehow just magically appear from the ether.

That's just our society's attitude writ small--we like music, so we like musicians, but we don't really understand where they come from. They just sort of appear, people who have been struck by musical lightning, or maybe hatched at the musician hatchery.

South Side High School Tours

South Side High to offer tours: Downtown to join centennial celebration

Take a trip down memory lane. Join the South Side HS tour...

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
South Side High School will continue celebrating its centennial with events next week, including a colorful, downtown nod to the milestone year, a news release said Thursday.

Tours of the school, 3601 S. Calhoun St., will be offered during an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. May 21. Displays will include photographs and blueprints of the school throughout the decades.

South Side has undergone multiple expansions since it opened in 1922. At that time, its website states, it was the largest one-story school building in the United States, and it was among the first schools nationwide to use a series of ramps instead of stairs. Only one set remains, the release said.

It is the oldest Fort Wayne Community Schools building except for the Bill C. Anthis Center, spokeswoman Krista Stockman has said. That downtown location dates to 1902 and first served as Central High School.

Is interracial marriage inappropriate? Who should choose math textbooks -- math experts or school board members?

NACS School Board VP: Interracial Marriage is inappropriate in math text book

NACS gives approval to all textbooks but 1 in math

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Northwest Allen County Schools board member who wanted extra time to review four proposed math textbooks praised three titles Monday, but he criticized the other for including story problems about "inappropriate" topics including interracial marriage.

The five-member board unanimously approved the K-12 textbook adoption for next academic year except for a pre-calculus book.

The textbook adoption was delayed two weeks because Kent Somers, board vice president, said on April 25 he was concerned that four of the proposed titles "have been identified in other districts or other places."

On April 15, the Florida Department of Education announced 54 of the 132 submitted textbooks didn't make the state's initial adoption list for math instructional materials.

By the book: Objection to proposed math text anything but cagey

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
On Monday, Somers gave his approval to four “outstanding” books. Education publisher Pearson's evocatively titled “Precalculus” was excluded by Somers because the author was “a little bit cagey in how he'd presented material.”

The textbook, now in its seventh edition, was written by Robert F. Blitzer, an emeritus professor at Miami Dade College where he was an award-winning mathematics teacher for 30 years. He has a master of arts in mathematics from the University of Miami and a doctorate in behavioral science from Nova University.

In promotional material for the book, Blitzer, sporting long hair, round wire-framed glasses and a walrus mustache, is quoted as saying, “Your world is profoundly mathematical.”

Drawing upon pop culture and up-to-date references, Blitzer wrote the series so that it would “appeal to students of all majors and connect math to their lives, showing them that our world is more mathematical than they realize.”

**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 [NOTE: NEIFPE has no financial ties to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]


No comments: