Monday, July 18, 2022

In Case You Missed It – July 18, 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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Lisa Haver: The Mysterious Hiring Practices of the Philadelphia School Board

Is there a reason that people who don't know anything (or very little) about the field of education are hired to teach, or in this case, to lead a school district? This is part of the "I went to school so I know all about education" attitude.

Apparently, the school board in Philadelphia believed that anyone could lead a large, urban, school district. When they found out that they hired someone unqualified, it cost them nearly a half million which would have been better spent on the students.

From Diane Ravitch
After years of pain and frustration that included the closing of neighborhood schools, privatization driven by standardized tests, crumbling infrastructure, and more than one debacle, the people of Philadelphia were psyched for new leadership in the school district.

The door to new priorities seemed to open with the arrival of Tony Watlington as the next superintendent.

But that door slammed shut before his tenure had even begun with the news that he’d brought in a Tennessee-based consulting firm to help him navigate his first year in the job. In May, the Board of Education voted unanimously and without deliberation to approve a one-year contract with Joseph & Associates. Price tag: $450,000. The board approved this contract — the last on a list of 92 official items — near the end of an 8-hour meeting.


Indiana spring test results show students lag in proficiency

What's more important, state test scores or helping students heal from the emotional and mental health-damaging effects of the coronavirus pandemic?

It won't be long before Indiana goes back to punishing schools for teaching hard and expensive to educate students in order to "prove" that public education is "failing (also here)." They'll use test scores to do it.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Indiana’s rate of student learning is increasing, but many students lag in proficiency, state education officials said Wednesday upon the release of spring standardized test results.

Fort Wayne Community Schools – where only 17.8% of students in grades three through eight performed at or above proficiency standards for both English/language arts and math – knows it still has work to do, spokeswoman Krista Stockman said.

“We know our students have not fully recovered academically from the pandemic,” she said, “and we will continue to work on getting students back to grade level expectations and beyond.”

Statewide, proficiency rates in English and math improved from 2021 scores, with 41.2% students testing at or above proficiency standards in English and 39.4% of students performing similarly in math. About 30% of children were proficient in both subjects, according to ILEARN results.

New Northwest Allen County Schools superintendent to share 90-day plan this month

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The new Northwest Allen County Schools superintendent promised the board Monday he will return in two weeks with details about his 90-day plan.

Wayne Barker, who began leading the 8,000-student district July 1, said the July 25 meeting will provide an opportunity for the five board members to provide input on the short-term goals.

Monday marked his first NACS board meeting as superintendent. He replaced Chris Himsel, who retired June 30 after a 12-year tenure.

Barker’s first 90 days will include an event he is looking forward to – the first day of school in August. So far, he said, he’s spent much of his time in the administration building, and is eager to get to the district’s 11 schools.


Mercedes Schneider: Arizona’s Race to the Bottom!

Arizona is just one more state which is ready to hire unqualified people to "teach" their children. The nationwide teacher shortage has been caused by policies that drive professional teachers out of the classroom -- low salaries, overwork, constant media and political teacher bashing, and reliance on test scores as the end-all of a student's experience in school. Now that there aren't enough teachers, states are contriving "alternative paths to teaching" that allow those with little or no educational experience or training to fill teaching positions.

From Diane Ravitch
In an effort to address teacher shortages in Arizona classrooms, the Arizona legislature passed a revised version of AZ SB 1159, which Arizona governor, Doug Ducey, signed into law on July 05, 2022.

This revision allows for Arizona school districts and charter schools to apply to the state to operate classroom-based, teacher-prep programs in which participants need only pass a background check and be enrolled in an accredited bachelors degree program before being allowed into the classroom– supervised, sort of maybe.

Just enrolled– meaning not even a single credit hour yet earned is acceptable, and in no particular field. Furthermore, the bill language is loose regarding who could be actually instructing the class, since the bill states that participants do not “regularly” instruct class unless a “full-time teacher, certificated teacher, instructional coach, or instructional mentor” is present.
Random thoughts - The Teacher Shortage

The President of Hillsdale College (funded by Betsy DeVos and family) insulted the entire education profession. Teaching? "Anybody can do it."

From Live Long and Prosper
Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn said about teaching, "Anybody can do it" and claimed that teacher training programs were "the dumbest part of every college." In his mind, it follows that "teachers are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges in the country." That attitude along with salaries more than 20% lower than other similarly trained college graduates, might have something to do with the teacher shortage. Prospective teachers either believe what they hear, or don't want to enter a profession whose practitioners are overworked, underpaid, and regularly insulted.


The Network for Public Education has announced the location of its tenth-anniversary conference. The event will take place in October 2023 in Washington D.C.

Details to follow on the NPE website.

**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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