Monday, September 19, 2022

In Case You Missed It – September 19, 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 we read about an update on the SCOTUS ruling in Bremerton (the praying football coach), "permissionless education", lower taxes in FWCS, ranking states on school "reform", and forgiving charter school loans (favored by the same folks who are against forgiving student loans).


Praying Coach Is Too Busy For His Old Job

He didn't pray quietly. He made a big deal about it.

He wasn't fired, he just didn't reapply.

SCOTUS said the school system had to rehire him. They offered. His response? Crickets. He was too busy playing the martyr circuit.

He and SCOTUS wasted public school dollars on a case that should not have been decided the way it was. Meanwhile, permanent damage has been done to the Wall of Separation.

From Curmudgucation
You remember the case of Joseph Kennedy, the Washington state football coach who wanted to hold public prayers on the fifty yard line even though his school district said, "Don't." You remember that the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court, where the court decided in the coach's favor in a decision that required a willful ignoring of the actual facts of the case...

In the end, SCOTUS ordered the district to reinstate Kennedy as coach even though they had never fired him in the first place--he'd simply failed to reapply for the job and subsequently played victim; it didn't matter, as Kennedy's lawyer kept saying he was fired, and Justice Alito also said he was fired. But SCOTUS said he had to be re-employed, his lawyer threatened to spank the school district if they didn't, and Kennedy said he'd be back the instant they sent word.

He was sent reinstatement paperwork at the beginning of August. But now the fall football season has come and--twist!-- Kennedy is nowhere near Bremerton...

Read the full Seattle Times piece if you need to raise your blood pressure a bit.

So given the choice between doing the job he sued over, or making the circuit as a celebrity martyr, Kennedy has chosen the latter. If there was ever the slightest shred that there was a real matter of principle at the heart of this case, it should evaporate. Just one more excuse to batter the wall between church and state.


Why Permissionless Education

"Permissionless is about being unaccountable, about not having to answer to anybody. Which is just one more variation on the old Koch-far right search for a government-free Land of Do As You Please."

From Curmudgucation
"Permissionless" is a bit of a buzzword in some corners of the choicer community these days.

Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform tosses it around a bit, particularly when she's working on the STOP award, a prize that Pennsylvania gazillionaire Jeff Yass funds and promotes. The P in STOP stands for permissionless.

Meanwhile, the Stand Together Trust, which used to be the Charles Koch Institute, likes "permissionless" a lot. Their substack, previously "Learning Everywhere," is now called "Permissionless Education" and the Stand Together folks even plan to do a whole session at the 30th annual SPN meeting entitled "Expanding the Permissionless Education Market: Lessons from Everyday Entrepreneurs." Because nothing says "everyday entrepreneurs" like Koch money and the State Policy Network, that great collection of big-time right-wing thinky tanks.


FWCS touts its falling tax rate

Some tax relief for the FWCS district.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
A Fort Wayne Community Schools board member wanted to make sure Monday that those watching the 2023 budget presentation understood the $345 million spending plan is expected to come with a 3% decrease in the overall tax rate.

Steve Corona, who also sits on the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, tied the school district's declining tax rate to the investment that businesses are making in the city.

"I know from time to time there's questions about the city of Fort Wayne providing tax increment financing to induce businesses to expand or relocate here," Corona said. "We can see the downtown changing, but this is proof that the value of our community is rising, and as a result our tax rate is going down."


Florida ranked No. 1 for "education freedom" — by right-wing group that wants to privatize it all

A New Heritage Foundation "report card" celebrates how well you underfund public schools and how well you dismantle public schools. The "report card" ranks states according to school vouchers, deregulation, and conservative parent activism. Sadly, though not surprisingly, Indiana is right up near the top at #4.

The Network for Public Education, on the other hand, puts Indiana at #48 out of 51, and Florida at #50.

From Salon
"The fact that the Heritage Foundation ranks Arizona second in the country, when our schools are funded nearly last in the nation, only underscores the depraved lens with which they view the world," said Beth Lewis, director of the advocacy group Save Our Schools Arizona, which is currently leading a citizen ballot referendum against the state's new universal ESA law. "Heritage boasting about realizing Milton Friedman's dream reveals the agenda — to abolish public schools and put every child on a voucher in segregated schools."

"This is a report that celebrates states not funding their students," agreed Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, the state's largest union. Noting that Florida in fact ranks 45th in the nation in average per-student funding, Spar continued, "In their report, it seems like the states that fund their students at a higher level have a worse ranking than those who invest less in their children."

This amounts, Spar continued, to "the Heritage Foundation celebrating the rankings of how well you underfund public schools, how well you dismantle public schools. I don't think we should celebrate the fact that we're shortchanging kids."

"With this report," added [Carol] Burris [Executive Director of the Network for Public Education], "the Heritage Foundation puts its values front and forward — that schooling should be a free-for-all marketplace where states spend the least possible on educating the future generation of Americans, with no regulations to preserve quality." It's no accident, Burris added, that Heritage's top two states, Florida and Arizona, were ranked as the worst on the Network for Public Education's own report card this year.

"These two states now have such a critical teacher shortage, due to their anti-public school agenda, that you do not even need a college degree to teach," said Burris. "Parents who are looking for the best states in which to educate their children should take this report card and turn it on its head."


Charter Schools Collected $1 Billion in PPP Loans That Were Forgiven

How dare the government forgive student loans...oh, wait.

From Diane Ravitch
Since President Biden announced a program to forgive $10,000-20,000 in student loan debt, new attention has been paid to the Trump administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. PPP doled out billions of dollars to businesses of all kinds, many of which didn’t need the money but took it anyway. Free money.

Among those that collected significant sums were religious schools, private schools (some of which had multi-million dollar endowments), and charter schools.

Regular public schools had a separate stream of money to help them survive COVID-19, but they were not allowed to apply for PPP money, which was only for private businesses and nonprofit.

Charter schools were allowed to double dip. Betsy DeVos was Secretary of Education, after all. So charter schools qualified for public school funding and for PPP.

Carol Burris wrote a brief summary...

**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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