Monday, January 30, 2023

In Case You Missed It – January 30, 2023

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.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column to be informed when our blog posts are published.


Some of the most popular items on our social media feed this week were for events or legislative deadlines that have passed. One way to keep up is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and on Post (a new Twitter-like platform). This is especially important during the yearly legislative sessions. Many of our posts are for immediate calls to action and waiting for the weekly summary is too late.

Today we have two posts by Vic Smith of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education. The Indiana General Assembly is continuing its years-long attack on public education. They are attempting to politicize school boards, and, as usual, expand the state's voucher program. For more information visit the ICPE website.

If you live in Indiana please contact the legislators listed in the posts below and let them know your opinions and your support of public education.


Vic’s Statehouse Notes #370 – A radical plan

From the Indiana Coalition for Public Education
The Indiana Senate Education Committee approved a bill Wednesday that would freeze out community members, taxpayers and even state leaders from any influence over what the students of Indiana study. It would mark the end of state standards.

Yes, you read that correctly. Only parents would control the curriculum of their student if they opt for an Education Scholarship Account (ESA). Taxpayers who pay approximately $7000 a year for each student would have no voice.
  • The Governor wants schools to prepare students for the workplace. ESA parents could ignore him.
  • Those who love democracy want students to prepare for citizenship. ESA parents could ignore them.
  • Those who love the arts want students to experience the arts. ESA parents could ignore them.
This radical plan to fund home schools and micro schools through accounts available online to any parent who applies could dissolve public education in Indiana in a few years.

Senate Bill 305 was approved in the Senate Education Committee by a vote of 8-5.

If you object to ending public education by way of universal ESA’s, send letters of opposition to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the next committee to review the bill.

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #371 – Partisan School Boards

From the Indiana Coalition for Public Education
Breaking long Hoosier traditions, Senate Bill 188 would change school boards from non-partisan to partisan. It’s time to contact Senators before the bill is heard on Monday to express your strong opposition to this damaging change to our public schools.

Making school boards partisan is a bad idea. It would further divide our state into partisan camps and create partisan controversies and ill-will in the boards running public schools that serve all children.

This proposal comes from the same Republican party that in 2017 and again in 2019 passed bills to appoint rather than elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, an elective office for 166 years, saying at the time that politics should be taken out of K-12 education.

How quickly they forget.

What bad consequences would this change bring?

Share these concerns with legislators:
  • Changing to partisan school boards will make a bad teacher shortage even worse. This change will be so repulsive to many non-partisan teachers that it could be their last straw to consider leaving the state or the profession. Teachers in training are deciding whether to stay in Indiana or to teach in surrounding states. Knowing that public schools are run by partisan school boards will discourage young teachers from beginning their career in Indiana.
  • Many highly qualified school board candidates would run in a non-partisan election but would not get involved if they have to run in a partisan election as members of a party.
  • Political bosses who are not on the school board could control school board actions when school board members know that they owe their board seat to party politicians.
  • Party slates would soon become part of every election, allowing state and local political bosses to control who gets to run for school board.
  • The partisan majority on the school board would soon establish a partisan test for selecting a superintendent.
  • A partisan superintendent may set up partisan tests for hiring administrative staff members or even teachers in the district.
  • Since the legislature voted eight years ago to remove the requirement that superintendents must earn a superintendent’s license, a politically partisan school board could hire any politically connected individual to be the superintendent, whether or not they were qualified based on knowledge of schools.
  • A regular dose of partisan arguments in local school board meetings will soon sour local communities on the very concept of public education.
  • A change to partisan school boards would allow the party in power to control school board reactions to legislation in the General Assembly as the supermajority year by year brings bills which lead to their ultimate goal of universal vouchers: to end public education and educate all students in a marketplace of private schools.
  • This proposal reverts to our history prior to the 1959 school consolidation reform law when some township trustees who ran the schools used political tests for hiring teachers.


Utah: House Passes Voucher Bill, Despite Voters Decisive Rejection in 2007

Remember when Indiana voters approved any of the expansive voucher bills the Indiana General Assembly keeps passing? No? Neither do we!

From Diane Ravitch
Utah’s House passed a voucher bill, even though the state voted against them by 62-38% in 2007. Republicans in Utah are determined to bypass a referendum, as they are in other states, because voters have never passed one. Voters don’t want to defund their public schools.

You can bet that 70-80% of the students who get vouchers are already enrolled in private religious schools. That’s the proportion reported in every state that has vouchers. The small number who ask for vouchers will lose ground academically and eventually return to their local public school. The research is unequivocal: vouchers do NOT improve academic achievement. They are a gift to parents whose kids are already in private schools.


Carroll revamp price tag learned

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Renovating and expanding Carroll High School to accommodate 500 additional students could cost $46.3 million under preliminary plans shared this week with district officials.

The Northwest Allen County Schools board - which is also considering projects to address overcrowding at the middle schools and central office - will likely dedicate time for public input at a February or March meeting, board President Kent Somers said Monday.

"This is obviously a major undertaking," he said. "It'd be important to get feedback. We can't wait until the strategic planning discussions are done."

**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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