Monday, October 24, 2022

In Case You Missed It – October 24, 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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A judge in Mississippi understands that public funds shouldn't be spent on private, religious schools.

Memphis, Tennessee school board rejects two new charters.

Jan Resseger (as promoted by Diane Ravitch) argues against third-grade retention laws.

And a middle school teacher wonders why we don't care enough about children to protect them from gun violence.


Mississippi: Judge Rules Against Using Public Funds for Private Schools

A decade ago, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that state tax money, in the form of vouchers, can be spent at religious institutions despite Article I, Section 4, and Section 6, of the Indiana Constitution...

Section 4. No preference shall be given, by law, to any creed, religious society, or mode of worship; and no person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support, any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent.

Section 6: No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution.

The money used for school vouchers in Indiana belongs to the public schools and is diverted to mostly Christian, religious schools. Apparently, even Mississippi knows better.

From Diane Ravitch
Here is good news. The politicians in Mississippi tried to divert public funds to benefit private schools. This is taking from the poor and middle-class to benefit the children of the affluent. The judge said no. In most red states, state judges have repeatedly ruled that state constitutions are invalid when it comes to funding private and religious schools. All state constitutions require that public funds are for public schools. Mississippi is lucky to have a judge who ruled that the state constitution means what it says.


Tennessee: State Charter Commission Rejects Two Charter Schools in Memphis

Charters lose this round in Tennessee.

From Diane Ravitch
The executive director of the Tennessee Public Charter School Commission has recommended against approving two proposed charter schools in Memphis, siding with a school board that found the charter applications failed to meet state standards.

Tess Stovall’s recommendations uphold the Memphis-Shelby County School board’s unanimous decision in April and again in July to reject the applications for the proposed Binghampton Community School and Tennessee Volunteer Military Academy. Leaders of both schools had appealed the decisions to the state.

Jan Resseger: Why Ohio Must End the Failed Policy of 3rd Grade Retention

Third grade retention policy, which is also part of Indiana's education environment, should be ended. Diane Ravitch reports on why retaining students in third grade is a bad idea.

From Diane Ravitch
Jeb Bush and his ExcelInEd Foundation have been dogged promoters of the Third Grade Guarantee, but last May, the Columbus Dispatch’s Anna Staver traced Ohio’s enthusiasm for the Third Grade Guarantee to the Annie E. Casey Foundation: “In 2010, the Annie E. Casey Foundation released a bombshell special report called ‘Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters.’ Students, it said, who don’t catch up by fourth grade are significantly more likely to stay behind, drop out and find themselves tangled in the criminal justice system. ‘The bottom line is that if we don’t get dramatically more children on track as proficient readers, the United States will lose a growing and essential proportion of its human capital to poverty… And the price will be paid not only by the individual children and families but by the entire country.’”

But it turns out that promoters of the Third-Grade Guarantee ignored other research showing that when students are held back—in any grade—they are more likely later to drop out of school before they graduate from high school. In 2004, writing for the Civil Rights Project, Lisa Abrams and Walt Haney reported: “Half a decade of research indicates that retaining or holding back students in grade bears little to no academic benefit and contributes to future academic failure by significantly increasing the likelihood that retained students will drop out of high school.” (Gary Orfield, ed., Dropouts in America, pp. 181-182)


Will We Even Try to Keep Students and Teachers Safe from Gun Violence? Or Just Keep Preparing for the Worst?

Right-wing politicians get all bent out of shape by the "damage" done to America's school children who were forced to wear masks in order to keep them, their peers, their families, and school staff safe during the coronavirus pandemic, don't seem to care enough to do much about the "pandemic" of school shootings.

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
“Teachers, we are operating on a lockdown. Please keep your doors locked until we tell you it has been lifted.”

Before me a sea of wide eyes and scared faces.

I slowly walked toward the door continuing the lesson I had been giving before the announcement. The door was already shut and secured but I nonchalantly turned the extra deadbolt.

“Click!” it sounded like a gunshot across the suddenly silent room.

I continued talking while making my way back to the blackboard pretending that nothing out of the ordinary was happening.

That’s just life in the classroom these days.

According to Education Week, there have been 38 school shootings in the US this year resulting in injuries or deaths. That’s up from 34 last year and the highest it’s been since the media source began tracking such things in 2018.

During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were only 10 such shootings in 2020, and 24 each in 2019 and 2018.

That comes to a total of 130 school shootings in the last five years.

“Mr. Singer, can I go to the bathroom?” DeVon asked.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “We’re still under lockdown. I’ll write you a pass as soon as it’s lifted.”

It seems like nowhere is safe.
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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