Monday, July 11, 2022

In Case You Missed It – July 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.

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Can just anyone be a teacher?

Can anyone be a teacher? How about a superintendent? Do you need any experience?

There's good news about the Federal Charter Schools Program and bad news about vouchers.

FWCS workers get a raise, and fewer high school graduates are going to college.


Nothing new here...just the usual assumption that anyone who has been to school can be a teacher. After all, how hard could it be? Just tell kids what they need to learn and they learn it right? Also, a twist on this...the Philadelphia School Board thinks anyone can be a superintendent. No experience is necessary.

Anyone can teach

Idaho Lowers Standards for New Teachers: Anyone Can Teach!

From Diane Ravitch
The Idaho legislature overwhelmingly approved a bill to drop requirements for new teachers, leaving it to districts to write their own standards.

In Idaho, anyone can teach so long as they have a BA degree, pass a criminal background check, and don’t have an infectious disease.

In short, teaching in Idaho is no longer a profession. The charter industry considers this a victory.

Anyone can be a superintendent

Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Wonders Why New Supe Needs $450,000 Handholding

From Diane Ravitch
The Philadelphia School Board hired an inexperienced school superintendent, then signed a contract to pay $450,000 to a firm to train the new superintendent. Former Nashville school board member Amy Frogge wrote an open letter to the Philadelphia school board, warning about the track record and failures of the consultant they hired.

The Philadelphia Inquirer published this editorial.


Federal Charter Schools program

Carol Burris Explains the Changes to the Federal Charter Schools Program

Charter schools now need to be more transparent and accountable.

Full Disclosure: NEIFPE is a member of NPE's Grassroots Education Network.

From Diane Ravitch
The charter lobby, overflowing with cash, bought ads on major television programs to fight the Department’s effort to regulate the federal funding of charters, especially the proposed exclusion of for-profit charter operators. The Network for Public Education did not have millions or even hundreds of thousands to lobby on behalf of public schools. It did not buy any TV or radio time. NPE is funded by the 350,000 friends who contribute small amounts of money to fight privatization. Contrary to the claims of the charter lobby, NPE is not funded by the teachers’ unions. It is funded by parents, teachers, principals, and other citizens who don’t want to lose their public schools.

Carol Burris, executive director of the Network for Public Education, has worked tirelessly to persuade the U.S. Department of Education and members of Congress to require accountability and set rules for the federal Charter Schools Program. She wrote numerous reports, based on government data, to demonstrate the need for oversight. The program receives $440 million a year with no scrutiny, and its waste, fraud, and abuse are legion. Unlike the charter lobby, NPE has a small staff. Carol is the only full-time employee. Her hard work paid off. Despite the millions of dollars spent by the charter lobby to keep the federal dollars flowing without accountability, transparency or oversight, the Department ignored them.

Carol Burris explained the new regulations in a post on Valerie Strauss’s blog “The Answer Sheet” at The Washington Post.

The cost of Vouchers

Indiana voucher cost nears quarter billion dollars

Indiana gave voucher schools, nearly all of which are religious schools, almost a quarter billion dollars last school year.

Meanwhile, Article 1, Section 6 of the State Constitution reads, "No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution."

You might ask, "How can they do that?" Simple, get the State Supreme Court to declare it constitutional.

From School Matters
Indiana awarded $241.4 million in the 2021-22 school year to pay tuition and fees for students to attend private schools. That’s 44% more than the state spent on vouchers the previous year.

The increase, detailed in a Department of Education report, isn’t surprising. The Indiana General Assembly in 2021 vastly expanded the voucher program, opening it to families near the top of the state’s income scale and making the vouchers significantly more generous.

Nearly all the 330 private schools that received voucher funding are religious schools.Some discriminate against students, families and employees because of their religion, disability status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Indiana is bankrolling bigotry.

SCOTUS ruling in Carson v. Makin: Maine religious schools get public funds

A Way Around

If a state funds private schools it MUST also fund private religious schools.

From Sheila Kennedy
What is surprising is how little the 6-to-3 decision in the Maine case, Carson v. Makin, will matter practically. And the reason offers a glimpse of hope for those who worry about a future dominated by the court’s conservative supermajority — including the many Americans troubled by the court’s decision in the gun case, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen.

Let’s start with the Carson case. Anticipating this week’s decision, Maine lawmakers enacted a crucial amendment to the state’s anti-discrimination law last year in order to counteract the expected ruling. The revised law forbids discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and it applies to every private school that chooses to accept public funds, without regard to religious affiliation.

The impact was immediate: The two religious schools at issue in the Carson case, Bangor Christian Schools and Temple Academy, said that they would decline state funds if, as Maine’s new law requires, accepting such funds would require them to change how they operate or alter their “admissions standards” to admit L.G.B.T.Q. students.


FWCS board approves bus driver, custodian wage hikes

Pay hikes for FWCS bus drivers and custodians.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools’ board voted unanimously to ratify a four-year collective bargaining agreement between FWCS and Teamsters Local 414 representing bus drivers.

Drivers’ wages will increase by 4% this year, consistent with teachers’ compensation. And the parties agreed to shorten the length of time needed for a driver to advance on the wage scale.

The board also unanimously approved an amendment to the three-year contract with Sodexo Services of Indiana. The agreement increases hourly rates for custodial staff for the upcoming school year.


Allen County mirrors statewide decline in high school grads going to college

Fewer Indiana high school graduates are going to college these days...

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
After years of incremental declines, the latest Indiana College Readiness Report found the college-going rate of the first high school class affected by the coronavirus pandemic fell to 53% – a 10% drop from the previous year.

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education released the findings this month. The rates reflect students enrolled in various programs, including those for certificates.

Virtual-only classes and COVID-19 protocols, such as vaccine and mask requirements, factored into students’ plans, local school officials said. At least one area superintendent predicts a rebound in college-going rates for this year, but he isn’t as optimistic for 2021 because it was even more affected by the pandemic.

“We had students making decisions based on school expectations,” said Park Ginder, Southwest Allen County Schools superintendent. “Here, you had to have a shot. Here, you had to have a shot and a mask. And we knew of kids who chose to stay home and work, maybe begin a career or pursue travel, in some cases. Not a lot, but in a few. We used to call that a gap year, but I might call it a COVID year.”
**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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