Monday, February 27, 2023

In Case You Missed It – February 27, 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.

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Republicans in the legislature are working against public education. News about charters, vouchers, and Ron DeSantis -- a full menu of horrible updates.


2023 Legislative Update – The Sucker Punch

ICPE, the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, provides an update on the damage that the Republicans in the Indiana legislature are proposing for the state's public education systems.

From the Indiana Coalition for Public Education
2023 Legislative Update We’re well into the 2023 legislative session, and some of us are asking:
  • Do our legislators understand that public schools* are essential infrastructure in communities across Indiana—rural, urban, and suburban?
  • If so, why do they keep moving bills that would defund public schools?
  • Why do they want to send more public funds to private and privately managed environments, with little or no public oversight?
  • Who is the supermajority working for?
Damaging bills this session fall into two broad categories. The first has to do with money. Adequate funding is necessary to maintain a vibrant and well-resourced school system, so attacks on school funding are also attacks on the quality of our public schools.


This Potential SCOTUS Case Could Change the Course of US Charter Schools

Charters like to brag that they're "just public schools" until they run up against requirements that public schools must follow...then they become "private corporations."

Can school officials force girls to wear skirts or dresses?

From Jacobin
Can public school officials, acting under state authority, forbid girls from wearing pants? Bonnie Peltier didn’t think so.

In 2015 Peltier, the mother of a Leland, North Carolina kindergartener, complained about a rule at her daughter’s charter school compelling girls to wear skirts or dresses. Baker Mitchell, owner of the private, for-profit company that manages the school, responded by explaining that the policy was designed to preserve “chivalry” — which he later characterized as a code of conduct wherein women are “regarded as a fragile vessel that men are supposed to take care of.”

The following year, three future “fragile vessels” — Peltier’s daughter, a fourth grader, and an eighth grader — became plaintiffs in an ACLU lawsuit alleging that Charter Day School (CDS) had violated the US Constitution by imposing a rule that made it harder for girls to stay warm, feel comfortable, and play freely. An extensive legal battle followed, with a federal court ultimately deciding that CDS had indeed run afoul of the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits gender-based discrimination, by making the girls wear skirts.


Hakeem Jeffries Will Downplay His Support for Charters Now That He Is Party Leader

Are Democrats really supporters of authentic public schools or is it just because Republicans are pro-privatization?

From Diane Ravitch
For a time, during the Obama years, Obama and his Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sold charters as a “progressive” idea that would nurture innovation. After thirty years, the charter claims dimmed. Too many scandals, too little innovation. Too many charter chains making profits or paying outlandish salaries. Too many charters that opened and closed within three years. Too many charters that believed harsh discipline was “innovative.”

The charter lobby considered Hakeem Jeffries one of its best friends, but that was before Trump chose Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. She was an outspoken friend of School choice, including charter schools. In recent years, red states have embraced charters and vouchers in their frenzy to privatize public schools and transfer public funding to private organizations.

Now, it’s clear to most Democrats that Republicans own the issue of charters and vouchers, not Democrats.

Peter Greene: Vouchers, “Choice,” and the End of Public Schools

School choice: where the school gets to choose the students.

From Diane Ravitch
Vouchers are not about choice. Just look at Florida, which has worked to disrupt, defund and dismantle public schools for years, while simultaneously shutting down and limiting what choices schools are allowed to offer. Look at every state’s voucher law; they all enshrine a private “education provider’s” right to deny and discriminate as they wish, thereby denying choice to any students they wish to deny choice to. One of the biggest limiters of school choice is not the public system, but the private system’s unwillingness to open their doors to all these students who, we hear, are just thirsting for choices.

We know what a free market education system looks like–it looks like the US post-secondary education system. Occasional attempts at free-to-all schools are beaten down by racist and classist arguments, along with charges of socialist indoctrination. You get as much choice as you can afford, the private schools only accept (and keep) the students they want, and those who aspire to certain levels of schooling have to sink themselves in debt to get it. Meanwhile, state’s slowly but surely withdraw financial support from the few “public” universities left.


Researchers: Vouchers Swindle Taxpayers, Students, and Families

At one point Indiana Republicans told us that public schools were failing and that students needed vouchers to go to "better quality" private schools. It turns out that vouchers damage public schools and don't deliver a better product. Instead, we should fully fund public education...

As of this writing, the Republican supermajority in the Indiana General Assembly is set ready to increase money spent on religious and private education

From Diane Ravitch
School vouchers are a taxpayer swindle that fails to raise achievement while eroding public schools and the principle of equal protection under the law outlined in the U.S. Constitution. If more states adopt school voucher systems, most parents will find their top choice — a neighborhood public school — largely defunded and unable to recruit and retain high-quality teachers due to a transfer of funds into unregulated private schools.

Americans from all backgrounds have fought to gain access to public schools, including freed slaves, immigrants and people with disabilities. These struggles have led to a free universal public education system that propels each child into our democracy, communities and economy. Public schools also serve as community hubs where neighborhoods gather to vote, watch sports, participate in townhalls, among many other public events.

Vouchers jeopardize all of this because they transfer money from public schools to individual parents through grants, savings accounts or scholarships to pay private school tuition. It is a system where self-interest replaces the common good, culminating in separate education systems for children living on the same street in the same community.
What does academic testing really measure?


Florida: State Officials Consider “Classical, Christian” Test as Replacement for the SAT

Not that we love the SAT...

From Diane Ravitch
Governor DeSantis is unhappy with the College Board because it had the nerve to disagree with him. He said he might find an alternative for the Board’s products, the SAT and AP courses. The Miami Herald says that the state is in discussions with a new test vendor whose was designed for Christian schools and home schools...

Will there be another test for students who are not Christian?


Fort Wayne Community Schools to ask voters to fund safety, security initiatives

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools plans to ask voters to support a safety and security referendum as early as this fall, Superintendent Mark Daniel announced at a Wednesday news conference.

It is too early to quantify the additional property tax dollars FWCS will seek to collect over eight years through a possible November referendum, or ballot measure, Daniel said. He stressed the value of investing in safety measures, such as increasing the number of student resource officers and installing devices that can alert officials to an open door.

“If you don’t pay it up front now,” Daniel said, “you’re going to pay forever.”

The superintendent recognized that making schools safer can’t be entirely achieved with money, however. Other aspects – including mentors, mental health counseling and discipline practices – also contribute, he said.

**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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