Monday, June 20, 2022

In Case You Missed It – June 20, 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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Juneteenth, 2022.

From the Indiana State Museum.
The Emancipation Proclamation freed all enslaved people in the states and areas still active in the Confederacy as of Jan. 1, 1863.

While slaveholders tried to suppress word of emancipation, news moved quickly through the grapevine. This miniature copy of the preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation, part of the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, was intended to help Union soldiers spread the word.

Even before the Proclamation, people freed themselves by reaching Union lines or territory, but many had to endure until Union troops arrived and backed the Proclamation with force.

#Juneteenth commemorates one of the last areas to be freed — Galveston, Texas — on June 19, 1865.

Articles of local interest cover topics, what parents want, usage of emergency relief funds, and new administrators.

We also report on a case before the Supreme Court and the New York Times praising a company's education plans that are no longer supported.


Most parents are happy with how their schools are operating ... They need to speak up about that

Local educator Phil Downs, wrote this oped for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Dr. Downs, who taught in FWCS, served as a building level administrator in NACS, and a central office administrator in SACS, is currently the Director of Education Graduate Programs and Accreditation at Trine University.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
On Jan. 6, The Hechinger Report, an education news site, ran a story from the Nevada Independent by Neal Morten and Jackie Valley. The story, entitled “Who wants to lead America’s school districts? Anyone? Anyone?” detailed the rise in superintendent retirements from the typical 15% to 25% in 2021, as well as the difficulty in finding candidates to take their places.

Many in education were hoping that emerging from the pandemic would be a chance to return to the business of helping families educate and raise their children. Many hoped there would be a raised awareness of the economic value public schools provide to their communities. And many hoped for an acknowledgment of the historic efforts teachers made trying to maintain some sense of continuity for children.

Instead, the article shows that headlines of school shootings, politicized social issues and, especially, public scenes of bad behavior at board meetings were what was waiting and are causing many to rethink a career in education.

I see this concern in my students. As demoralizing as these stories have been, we need to note there is some hope buried below the headlines.
FWCS seeks not to waste federal emergency relief funds

FWCS plans how to use its emergency relief funding.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools didn’t rush the budgeting process for its $158 million allocation of federal emergency relief.

The Indiana Department of Education released estimates for the last round of funding last spring, but FWCS was still developing spending plans as of six months ago, said Kathy Friend, FWCS chief financial officer. Shaped by the district’s top leaders and facilities personnel, the budget includes strategies to close educational gaps and upgrade buildings to better serve FWCS should another disease outbreak happen.

Friend said FWCS intends to spend every penny.

“We have a deliberate plan on how that’s going to get done,” she said.

Indiana’s COVID-19 relief school spending dashboard now offers more insight on how districts are using federal dollars meant to help schools prevent, prepare for and respond to the disease. The online resource has included spending categories – instruction, support services, operations and facilities – since late May.

NACS promotes principal to assistant superintendent

NACS, which named a new superintendent recently, promotes middle school principal, Bill Toler, to Assistant Superintendent.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The school board on Monday unanimously promoted Bill Toler from Maple Creek Middle School principal to assistant superintendent effective July 1. Board member Steve Bartkus was absent.

“Glad to have you, Bill,” board President Ron Felger said.

Toler replaces Gloria Shamanoff, who is retiring June 30 after 22 years in the role.

Toler is the second key administrator the board has hired this month. Last week, the five members approved Wayne Barker as superintendent. He will also start July 1.

SCOTUS Takes on Vouchers

America's public schools are doing well, but what happens when a district isn't supported well enough by the state to provide public education for citizens? The US Supreme Court will rule on a plan in Maine where public money is sent to private schools in areas where public schools aren't available.

From Live Long and Prosper
The late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone spoke to the concept of the common good when he said...
That all citizens will be given an equal start through a sound education is one of the most basic, promised rights of our democracy. Our chronic refusal as a nation to guarantee that right for all children, including poor children, is a national disgrace. It is rooted in a kind of moral blindness, or at least a failure of moral imagination, that we do not see that meeting the most basic needs of so many of our children condemns them to lives and futures of frustration, chronic underachievement, poverty, crime and violence. It is a failure which threatens our future as a nation of citizens called to a common purpose, allied with one another in a common enterprise, tied to one another by a common bond. -- 3/31/2000
The primary mission of public schools is not to teach individual students what their parents want them to learn. It’s to prepare the next generation for the task of running our society. It's for the benefit of all of us...the common good.


A Puff Piece in the “New York Times” for a Failed Education Program

From Diane Ravitch
An economics and business writer at the New York Times named Peter Coy wrote an article titled “This Company Knows How to Increase Test Scores.” The article celebrates a study of a for-profit company called Bridge International Academies (renamed NewGlobe) that operates a large number of schools in Africa. Coy says the study by various American economists finds that the NewGlobe schools produce remarkable test score gains. What he doesn’t say is even more important. Civil society groups from across Africa and elsewhere urged the World Bank to stop investing in for-profit schools. The World Bank announced three months ago that it would no longer invest in the company praised in this article.

Coy begins:
Some of the world’s most successful educational techniques are being applied today in Kenya, Uganda, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda and India, in schools serving poor children that are run or advised by NewGlobe Schools, a company founded by Americans with headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. These techniques deserve to be applied more widely, including in wealthy nations such as the United States.
**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is 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]

Note: NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It is posted every week except holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.

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