Monday, August 8, 2022

In Case You Missed It – August 8, 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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This week's digest of articles focuses on vouchers and charters. The forces aligned against the common good are hard at work trying to privatize public education. We also have articles about local public education developments.

Florida: Legislature Makes It Easier for Charters to Open

DeSantis and the Florida legislature continue their attack on public education.

From Diane Ravitch
Now the state [Florida] has passed a new law making it easier to open new charter schools and suck money out of the public schools.

As this rampant privatization continues, Governor DeSantis keeps up a barrage of attacks on public schools and their teachers, accusing them of “indoctrinating” their students with anti-racist views and “grooming” children to be transgender.


Tennessee: The Rightwing Plan for Hillsdale Charters Just Backfired

It turns out that the public likes their public schools and public school teachers, thank you very much.

From Diane Ravitch
Molly Olmstead writes in Slate that the rightwing plan to replace public schools with charter schools just took a big step backward in Tennessee. Governor Bill Lee, an evangelical Christian, wanted to bring 100 charter schools designed by extremist Hillsdale College to Tennessee to spread the gospel of patriotism, capitalism, and evangelical religion to the state. Hillsdale scaled the plan back to 50 schools, expecting to spread them across the state.

But then someone taped a conversation between Bill Lee and Larry Arnn, the president of Hillsdale. Arnn said insulting things about teachers. The Governor didn’t speak up. Then school boards got angry. They respect their teachers. Their teachers are their neighbors. Lots of Tennessee teachers are Republicans. Their neighbors don’t think they are “radical Marxists.” They know they are not “grooming” their children.


OPINION: After two decades of studying voucher programs, I’m now firmly opposed to them

When vouchers were first introduced they were touted as the miracle cure for "failing" public schools. It seems, however, that the problem is not so easily fixed, something public school educators could have predicted. So privatizers have changed from "helping poor kids" to "parental choice."

If you read only one article from this edition of ICYMI, choose this one.
From The Hechinger Report
In recent years, nearly half of all states have created publicly funded private K-12 tuition plans, collectively known as school vouchers.

This summer, advocates of these plans are pushing to expand their reach, boosted by the Supreme Court’s ruling in Carson v. Makin that states permitting vouchers may not exclude religious schools.

Arizona just expanded its already large voucher program; in Michigan, former U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and allies have proposed a voucher scheme modeled on plans elsewhere. In June, GOP supporters in Congress reintroduced legislation to create federal funding for voucher programs.

Vouchers are dangerous to American education. They promise an all-too-simple solution to tough problems like unequal access to high-quality schools, segregation and even school safety. In small doses, years ago, vouchers seemed like they might work, but as more states have created more and larger voucher programs, experts like me have learned enough to say that these programs on balance can severely hinder academic growth — especially for vulnerable kids.


Jim Trelease, 1941 – 2022

Read-aloud guru Jim Trelease (The Read-Aloud Handbook, 2013) died last month after a long speaking career promoting the benefits of reading aloud to children. This blog post is one fan's reaction.

From Live Long and Prosper
Lesson #1 (quoted from the Reading Research Quarterly. See #3, here) exactly does a person become proficient at reading? It’s a simple, two- part formula:
  • The more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it.
  • The more you read, the more you know; and the more you know, the smarter you grow.
Lesson #2 (emphasis added)
The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children...It is a practice that should continue throughout the grades.
The second lesson was also quoted from another source. It came from Becoming a Nation of Readers published some years after the first Read-Aloud Handbook.


Southwest Allen County Schools board returns to smaller meeting site

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Southwest Allen County Schools board returned to its regular meeting place Tuesday after a year of conducting business at larger venues to accommodate bigger audiences.

The extra seating the alternative sites provided is no longer needed, Superintendent Park Ginder said. The board met in the Homestead High School community room in recent months instead of the district administration building.

Public attendance at SACS board meetings was especially high when contentious COVID-19 protocols, such as mask-wearing, were on the agenda.
Fort Wayne Community Schools unveils Amp Lab during open house

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
A stream of people flowed through Amp Lab at Electric Works during an open house Tuesday, admiring the renovated 1940s-era building now equipped with modern features such as video screens, 3D printers and indoor tower gardens.

Beginning next week, 400 Fort Wayne Community Schools students will come to the two-story facility as part of their school day to participate in an innovative entrepreneurship program that will give juniors and seniors opportunities to work with community business partners.

Superintendent Mark Daniel set high expectations when he greeted the more than four dozen people who arrived before Amp Lab’s doors opened to the public.

“You’re going to see something amazing inside these doors,” Daniel said. “I heard the secretary of commerce speak, and he said Indiana needs more innovative thinkers, and it needs entrepreneurship. This is entrepreneurship on steroids.”

**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 weekly except on holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.

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