Monday, January 9, 2023

In Case You Missed It – January 9, 2023

Here are links to articles from the last three 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 Three Most Serious Problems for U.S. Public Education in 2023

Ohio public education advocate, Jan Resseger, names three things to focus on for the new year.

From Jan Resseger
Peril #1: “High Stakes Testing” and the “Don’t Trust the Schools Movement ” are together being used to discredit America’s system of public education.

In 2001, Congress prescribed No Child Left Behind (NCLB) as the cure for A Nation at Risk‘s diagnosis of “failing” public schools. NCLB brought us high stakes school accountability as embodied in annual standardized testing along with punishments for the schools unable to raise test scores every year. The 2001, NCLB “solution” to our “failing” public schools was, of course, what Peter Greene calls this year’s second huge threat: “High Stakes Testing.” We need to remember that high states standardized testing is very much still with us. For decades now the press and the testing companies and the accountability hawks have bombarded society with the message that standardized test scores must stay on a perpetual upward trajectory...

Peril #2: Public Schools Across the United States remain alarmingly unequal.

First Focus on Children just released a new report: Big Ideas 2023, whose first chapter by constitutional scholar and author of Schoolhouse Burning, Derek Black proclaims the importance of Reclaiming the Federal Role in Education: educational equity. Black reminds us that much of today’s conversation about public schooling seems to have drifted away from the goals of the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act and one of the Department of Education’s primary programs, Title I...

Peril #3: In 2022, Congress chose not to ameliorate child poverty.

Over a decade ago in a 2009 report, Lost Opportunity, the Schott Foundation for Public Education made a stunning effort to redefine what No Child Left Behind called “achievement gaps” and to shift our nation’s goal to closing children’s “opportunity gaps” not only at school but also in the whole of their lives. What are all the factors that affect a child’s “Opportunity to Learn”? Research demonstrates that child poverty itself creates perhaps the most serious of our society’s opportunity gaps.

Saving Public Schools for ALL Our Children in the New Year

Nancy Bailey insists that we consider the education of ALL children in 2023.

From Nancy Bailey
A public school system relies on a country that values education for all its children no matter family religious beliefs, the color of one’s skin, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. Americans collectively fund public education because those schools belong to us. They reflect the never-ending societal changes that make us better people.

In your community, look to see how you can serve the students in your public school. Get to know your local schools and their difficulties by attending school boards. Seek to support not break down the school.
  • Volunteer to help a teacher
  • Tutor a child
  • Attend a school function like a school play or sports event
  • Ask what skills you might have that could be useful for the school or children
  • Be a part of career day and explain your work
  • See if you can support sports, the band, or other extracurricular activities
  • Seek to shore up your local school by helping fund a school initiative if possible
  • Attend school board meetings seeking to show support
  • Brainstorm ways you and others can get behind your public schools

Mamie Krupsczak Allegretti: Why Do We Teach Students to Write?

Can a computer write as well as a human?

From Diane Ravitch
Writing is more than just setting words down on paper in a “good” essay. If we just want a well worded essay from a student by any means possible, then, sure, let the students use a computer to do it for them. But writing teaches one to sort out thoughts, expand ideas, analyze facts and ideas. Isn’t this what we want students to learn? Writing is also a vehicle for the spirit to come through a human being. It is an art. Many of the great writers have said they they do not consciously write, but their spirit or psyche uses them and writing as a vehicle to make itself known. So. If we want to lose a part of our humanity, we will allow computers to take over every function of a human being. And then where will we find our meaning as human beings?


Legislatures are starting their new year and the work they do will have an impact on public schools.

Reinventing high school … again?

From School Matters
Indiana legislators want to “reinvent high school.” Didn’t we just do that?

We know it’s a priority, because House Speaker Todd Huston said so at a legislative preview event with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Also, high school is a focus for questions House Republicans are asking in their pre-session constituent surveys.
  • “Would you support redesigning high school instruction to allow students to complete their graduation requirements using more hands-on options, including work-based learning and applied learning opportunities as well as youth apprenticeships?”
  • “Do you support increasing the availability of work-based and applied learning as well as youth apprenticeship opportunities to all Indiana students?”
  • “Do you believe our K-12 education system adequately prepares our students for the workforce, job training and/or college?”
In other words, more emphasis on job training and experience, less on traditional academic subjects.

Beware of the so-called parents' rights movement 

By Darcie Cimarusti in the Bedford Gazette
There is no doubt that parents play a crucial role in the education of their children. Who would dare argue that they don’t? But in the face of the anti-critical race theory, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-social emotional learning, anti-diversity equity and inclusion juggernaut unleashed by heavily funded, right-leaning astroturf parent groups such as Moms for Liberty, it has become imperative that we have an honest discussion about how much say parents should have in what is (or is not) taught in our public schools.

...Creating and implementing sound school policies and practices that respect and affirm all students requires collaboration. It does not allow for the divisive, polarizing rhetoric and impetuous, rash decision-making that have become the calling cards of the so-called parental rights movement.

The Schools That Indoctrinate Students

From Diane Ravitch
The claim that public schools “indoctrinate” their students is an integral part of the rightwing attack on public schools . This is a canard, a bald-faced lie.

The rightwingers insist that any efforts to teach tolerance and acceptance of others is “indoctrination.” Teaching children the importance of justice, they say, is “woke.”

This is the mission of public schools: to teach children academic skills and knowledge, of course, but also to teach them to work with people who are different from them and their family.

Teaching children to live, work, and play with others and to respect others is important to the functioning of our democracy. We are a people of many diverse origins, different nationalities, different religions. One of the implicit functions of public schools is to help bind us together as one nation, one people who share civic values.

Do you know which schools truly indoctrinate students? Religious schools. That is one of the essential goals of religious schools. They teach the doctrines of their faith. That is why they exist.

Yet, driven by religious zealots, red states are draining public money from public schools for religious schools.

The latest movement is to allow religious schools to become charter schools, enabling them to access public funds for teaching their doctrine.

Who is Education For?

From Gadfly on the Wall Blog
Everyday we send our children to school.


In whose interest are we sending our kids to school?

Is it for businesses so that they’ll have the kinds of workers they need?

Is it so that our students’ educations will align with the demands of industry?

Or is it for the children? So they’ll become mature, intelligent adults capable of independent thought and making rational decisions?

Who, after all, is this education for?

I mean our society has jobs that need doing and people need to do those jobs or we won’t survive – but is that really the overriding, predominant impetus behind school? Survival?

Are we primarily helping the economy by subjecting our kids to the classroom? Or are we doing something to benefit THEM?

Is there a value in being educated? A value to the person who has become educated?

Does it provide any advantage to a person to know things? To be able to think about things? To be able to express oneself in writing? To be able to make calculations? To use logic and reason? To know history? To be able to read and comprehend what one’s read? To form an educated opinion on what one’s read? To know and practice the scientific method? To express one’s creativity? To do any of a hundred other things kids learn in school?

Or are we just filling the factories with button pushers to keep smoke spilling out of the chimneys?

It’s more than two decades past the millennium, and I can’t believe I still have to ask such questions.

But I do. Because nearly every day some policymaker, pundit, billionaire or other over-privileged talking head feels free to answer these questions wrong.

U.S. Senate Rejects GOP Effort to Overturn Biden Administration Charter Regulations

From Diane Ravitch
For those who have long advocated for overhauling the CSP program, here are the significant gains.

Schools managed by for-profits will have a difficult time securing CSP grants and, in some cases, will be excluded from funding.

If an applicant has or will have a contract with a for-profit management company (or a “nonprofit management organization operated by or on behalf of a for-profit entity”), they must provide extensive information, including a copy or description of the contract, comprehensive leadership personnel reporting and the identification of possible related party transactions. Real estate contracts must be reported, and “evergreen contracts” in which there is automatic contract renewal are prohibited.

The school cannot share legal, accounting or auditing services with the for-profit. The state entity that awards the grant must publish the for-profit management contract between the awardee and the school. The final regulations also include the reporting and exposure of the for-profit’s related entities. The Network for Public Education recommended the addition of “related entities” in its comments to the department. Our report, “Chartered for Profit,” explains how for-profit owners create separate corporations with different names to mask the complete control of the for-profit over operations of the school.

Finally, the applicant must assure that “the [for-profit] management company does not exercise full or substantial control over the charter school,” thereby barring any charter school operated by a for-profit with a “sweeps contract” from obtaining CSP funds.

There will be greater transparency and accountability for charter schools, State Entities, and CMOs that apply for grants.

This is probably the most underreported win for those who support charter school reform.
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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