Monday, September 12, 2022

In Case You Missed It – September 12, 2022

Here are links to articles from the last two weeks that received 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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"The Nation's Report Card" supports the need for teachers in the classroom. Charters continue to spread in Indianapolis and more Indiana high school students can earn college credits.

We start with two articles about the importance of public education...


Are Schools A Waste Of Time And Money? Only If You Have A Time Machine.

From Peter Greene in Forbes
As part of a New York Times series of essays headed “What is school for,” economist Dr. Bryan Caplan suggested that “school is for wasting time and money,” a case that he has made before in a 2019 book entitled The Case Against Education.

His main argument in the NYT essay boils down to, “people don’t remember most of the academic material they learned in school.” There are three problems with his argument— problems that are shared by some other critics of schooling.

First, the argument that adults don’t remember much of what they learned in school (a version of the student complaint “When will we ever use this stuff”) is that it requires the use of a time machine to buttress a kind of retroactive utility.

In Game 6 of the 2021 World series, the Atlanta Braves won 7-0 over the Houston Astros. Those runs were scored in the 3rd, 5th and 7th innings. So, clearly, the time spent letting the Astros bat was wasted, nor was there any need to play any of the other innings in which nobody scored. It was, an economist might argue, a waste of time and money to play all those parts of the game that did not obviously affect the final outcome.

The problem, of course, is that we only know which parts of the game affect the outcome when the game has been played. It’s easy to say of students “that only a tiny fraction of what they learn durably stays in their heads.” Even if that is true (and I have some questions about how well we can measure what “durably stays”), it is impossible to know what that tiny fraction will include before the fact.

Anya Kamenetz: The Attack on Horace Mann’s Historic Vision of Public Schooling

NPR education reporter, Anya Kamenetz, wrote this for the New York Times. She explains why our democracy needs public schools.

From Diane Ravitch
For the majority of human history, most people didn’t go to school. Formal education was a privilege for the Alexander the Greats of the world, who could hire Aristotles as private tutors.

Starting in the mid-19th century, the United States began to establish truly universal, compulsory education. It was a social compact: The state provides public schools that are free and open to all. And children, for most of their childhood, are required to receive an education. Today, nine out of 10 do so in public schools.

To an astonishing degree, one person, Horace Mann, the nation’s first state secretary of education, forged this reciprocal commitment. The Constitution doesn’t mention education. In Southern colonies, rich white children had tutors or were sent overseas to learn. Teaching enslaved people to read was outlawed. Those who learned did so by luck, in defiance or in secret.


Mom in Texas Shuts Down Extremists and Joins the Honor Roll

A mom in Texas stands up to those who are bringing the culture wars to school board meetings.

From Diane Ravitch
“We know that books are continuing to be purged. We know student library aides have been banned. We know that a group of non-parents have pushed for these removals and continue to do so,” she began. “So, being a taxpayer does not grant special privileges over students, staff, and parents. I do not want random people with no education background or experience determining what books my child can read, what curriculum they learn, and what clubs they can join.”

“Just because you can get up at every meeting and rant and rave does not give you authority over my child’s education.”

“Your personal religious beliefs, people in this room and on this board, should not have an effect on my child’s education either. Our school are not to be used for personal political agendas and our children are here for education, not religious indoctrination,” she told the room as she looked various board members and attendees directly in the eye.


Why NAEP Scores Plummeted During Pandemic

For a while during the pandemic, teachers were heroes. They adapted to online teaching. They worked hard to learn new techniques and to try to meet the needs of their students while avoiding illness. Now, when the already misused standardized tests show that students didn't learn as well virtually, teachers are being blamed. There doesn't seem to be any acceptance that teachers weren't to blame for the pandemic, or for the state-wide responses and requirements. Why can't teachers work miracles?

From Diane Ravitch
...students need to have human contact with a teacher and classmates to learn best. Virtual learning is a fourth-rate substitute for a real teacher and interaction with peers.

Tech companies have told us for years that we should reinvent education by replacing teachers with computers. We now know: Virtual learning is a disaster.

The crisis we should worry about most is the loss of experienced teachers, who quit because of poor working conditions, low pay, and attacks by “reformers” who blame teachers at every opportunity.


Two charter schools seek to enter Pike Township, which has no charters

Whenever charter schools startup it's always good to ask several questions.
  • Does the location need more schools?
  • Are there enough students to support another school?
  • Are the public schools fully funded?
  • Does the local school board have any control over the new schools?
Indianapolis is falling into the charter school trap which has failed miserably elsewhere.

Privatization continues...

From Chalkbeat-Indiana*
Two charter high schools within Indianapolis Public Schools boundaries are hoping to expand to Pike Township, an area that currently has no charter schools.

Purdue Polytechnic High School, the growing charter school that opened its second Indianapolis campus inside Broad Ripple High school this year, hopes to open a third Indianapolis high school in August 2023, according to a letter of intent submitted to the mayor’s Office of Education Innovation (OEI). The office authorizes charter schools in Indianapolis that are approved by the Indianapolis Charter School Board.

Believe Schools, which operates Believe Circle City High School in the Crown Hill neighborhood, also hopes to open Believe: Pike Academy in August 2024.

Both schools hope their expansion into Pike Township will help serve students of color. They would become the only physical charter schools in Pike Township if approved by the Indianapolis Charter School Board. The Indiana Charter School Authority and OEI, which oversee nearly all of the charter schools in Marion County, have not previously authorized charters in Pike.


College Core expands to 141 schools

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Access to a program that lets students earn up to a year of college credits while in high school has expanded by 57 schools, including five in northeast Indiana, state education officials said Wednesday.

This brings the total number of schools offering the Indiana College Core to 141, a 68% increase, according to a news release from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana Department of Education.

"As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the core, high schools and higher education providers have now come together like never before to expand access to this incredible opportunity for our students," said Katie Jenner, Indiana secretary of education.

*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, EdChoice, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.

**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 by the end of the day every Monday except after holiday weekends or as otherwise noted.


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