Monday, May 9, 2022

In Case You Missed It – May 9, 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.

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Fort Wayne Community Schools has to figure out a way to be more efficient amidst a shortage of bus drivers.

A charter school administrator abuses a child.

Surprise! Public school parents like their local schools.

And a NEIFPE blog recognizing the most popular posts of the past week wouldn't be complete without one or two posts from Peter Greene at Curmudgucation. Today's entries: Teacher appreciation week and a look at how we teach reading.


FWCS ponders changes in bus schedules: Options on the table amid driver shortages

Wouldn't it be nice if the public funds spent on charter and voucher schools in the Fort Wayne Area went to the public schools...attended by the majority of local students? Salaries could be raised for education support personnel, like bus drivers, attracting more people to the workforce.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools is rethinking school schedules as it grapples with a shortage of bus drivers, Superintendent Mark Daniel said during an online update Tuesday.

“Everything's on the table,” he said of adjusting transportation plans to increase efficiency with fewer and fewer drivers.

Daniel addressed the topic in the final minutes of the hourlong Facebook Live event – the last of the academic year – after a viewer inquired about a possible schedule change for middle and high school in two years.


San Antonio: IDEA Charter School Vice Principal Arrested for Punching 5-Year-Old

Your tax dollars at work.

From Diane Ravitch
The vice principal of an IDEA charter school in San Antonio was arrested for punching a 5-year-old child.

Betsy DeVos, when U.S .Secretary of Education, gave the IDEA chain more than $200 million from the federal Charter Schools Program to expand.


Appreciating Teachers In May

Last week was National Teacher Appreciation Week. Peter Greene wonders if the end of the year is the best time for this kind of recognition. Sure, teachers have made it through another long year filled with challenges and stress (as have the kids!). But would it be better to appreciate teachers at the beginning of the school year for having the courage to show up in the first place?

Perhaps it's time to appreciate teachers all year long and finally give professional educators the respect they're due.

From Curmudgucation
So maybe it makes sense to appreciate teachers now, when they are up against it, trying to convince students that there are, in fact, more school days left even though the Big Standardized Test just finished. Maybe teachers need that extra boost during May, when only teachers are praying for cold, miserable days that do not make students shift into summer gear. Maybe now, as everyone is lurching toward the finish line, particularly in this pretend-post-pandemic year (which, according to most of my teacher friends, is actually worse than last year), is the perfect time to holler some attagirls at teaching staffs. But many times, I have wondered if a teacher appreciation week in September would be far better.

It's nice to hear "Ya did good" at the end of a run, but a hearty "Thanks for showing up to take this on. We'll be with you every step of the way," would be great, too. Being appreciated at the end of your run is a nice thing, an expression that people think you did a good job. Appreciation at the start shows some trust and confidence without waiting around to make sure you really did do a good job.


Can the Reading Pendulum Be Swinging?

Here's an interesting take on the "Reading Wars" from Peter Greene, a retired secondary teacher. Content and knowledge matter!

From Curmudgucation
...Knowledge matters. Content matters. To state what seems obvious to me, it's hard to read or learn to read if you don't know much. It's easier to read or learn to read if you have a wealth of background knowledge. New learning is most easily acquired when it can be connected to old knowledge. So if you want to teach children to read, building up their storehouse of prior knowledge is a critical-- maybe the most critical-- thing you can do to build a foundation.

This point of view has never gone away, but it seems to be gaining traction lately.

Note, for instance, this piece from Louisiana's education chief and committed reformster John White. White's point is that the NAEP is a faulty test because it doesn't measure "what students know."


NPR: New Poll Shows that Most Parents Like Their Public Schools and Teachers

Year after year parents all over the country give their own schools higher grades than the nation's schools.

Public schools get their highest grades from those who know them best...from public school parents. Could it be that the media skews the reporting on public schools so we only hear how bad the nation's schools are? Is the "common knowledge" that America's public schools are failing false? Is that "common knowledge" actually based on mostly misused and overused test scores?

Answers: Yes, yes, and yes.

Here's yet another poll showing that "our schools are great." Those "other schools" must be the ones that are failing.

From Diane Ravitch
NPR released a new poll showing that, despite the loud mouths attacking public schools, most parents like their public schools and teachers.

They like their schools despite the hundreds of millions, if not billions, invested in promoting school choice, charter schools, vouchers, and privatization.
**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]


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