Monday, February 6, 2023

In Case You Missed It – February 6, 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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This week is all about vouchers. Republican-led state legislatures around the country -- including Indiana -- are working to remove any oversight the states have over how education money is spent by giving parents "educational savings accounts" -- aka vouchers. Parents would get to choose where to spend their "educational dollars."

No more public school systems for the common good.


Cost discussion missing in plan to increase scholarships

Besides the excessive cost which will drain money from real public schools, Indiana Senate Bill 305 doesn't require accountability for tax dollars spent by those receiving the money.

Using the money for private schools puts the "choice" in the hands of the private school. If your child is more expensive to educate, the child of the wrong parents, or of the wrong faith, then your student can be rejected outright.

Using the money for parent-chosen "educational activities" and "materials" allows parents to choose whatever they want, whether or not it's effective or appropriate.

"Expanding education scholarship accounts" means increasing school vouchers. Period. It's a privatization scheme and the vast majority of Indiana's students who attend public schools will end up paying the price with reduced funding, cuts to programs, and larger class sizes.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Lawmakers need to be honest and upfront about the long-term cost of expanding education scholarship accounts to all children between the ages of 5 and 22 with no limitations based on family income, also known as universal school choice.

The program could easily eclipse $300 million a year (or half a billion if you include what is already being spent on the state's need-based voucher program). But Republican supporters are being disingenuous at best about that.

A true dialogue can't happen without acknowledging that while the program might start small, it will grow steadily.

Indiana shorts high-poverty schools via ‘complexity’ funding

"...the legislature has shifted education funding away from high-poverty urban and rural schools and toward low-poverty schools, including those in affluent suburban districts..."

...and with vouchers, private schools!

From School Matters
It’s been a trend in Indiana K-12 education finance since 2015: While overall state funding for schools has increased modestly, funding targeted to high-poverty schools has gone down. By a lot.

Education advocates are trying to reverse that trend as the Indiana General Assembly gets to work on a new two-year state budget. They are calling on lawmakers to put more money into the “complexity index,” the part of the funding formula that directs more dollars to schools with more needy students.

“There’s an equity issue here,” said David Marcotte, executive director of the Indiana Urban Schools Association. “The most complex students are getting short-changed.”

Complexity index funding is 39% lower than it was 2015, according to a study by Indianapolis-based Policy Analytics for the association. In 2015, total complexity index funding was $1.15 billion. Today, it’s $700 million. Schools are getting $450 million less than they used to via the index.
Vouchers Are Not About School Choice. Here's How We Know.

Vouchers are not really about choice at all. That’s just the word reformers use to suck people in. It sounds nice, but it’s not.

From Curmudgucation
Vouchers are not about choice. They're about saying, "I'll give you a couple grand to sign away your rights to a free and appropriate public education." They're about using that deal to get one step closer to Milton Friedman's dream of education being a cost shouldered by parents, not society. In other words, not just privatizing the delivery of education, but also privatizing the responsibility for it.

It's about not having to pay taxes to educate Those People's Children. If at the same time we can use some taxpayer dollars (collected from Other People) to also further some "Kingdon Gains" and fund some private religious schools (just the Right Ones), that's a win-win.

I'll end with my usual caveat--there are undoubtedly some folks out there who sincerely believe that vouchers are a good way to a pursue real school choice. Believe it or not, I myself can imagine what a true functional and beneficial school choice system would look like. And it wouldn't look anything like what has been ramming its way through state legislatures in the past few years.

Florida: Republicans Plan to Offer Vouchers for All Students, But No Details on How It Will Be Financed

Just like in Indiana...

From Diane Ravitch
Now that Florida is a red state, the legislature plans to offer vouchers to every student. The legislators expect to do maximum damage to public schools, which will inexorably lose funding and students. Nothing has been said about how to pay for the proposal. Voucher schools in the state are mostly religious and are completely unregulated. Neither their principals nor their teachers need to be credentialed. They are also free to discriminate on any grounds.

The Miami Herald reports...

An Online Site Where Homeschoolers Teach Their Children to Be Nazis

When your state gives parents money to use unencumbered by accountability, some might choose this...Is this where you want your tax dollars to go?

From Diane Ravitch
Please read the entire article. It’s too long to repost in its entirety. It is awful that parents would do this, and worse that it is subsidized by public funds in many state voucher plans.

Mathias writes:

On Nov. 5, 2021, a married couple calling themselves “Mr. and Mrs. Saxon” appeared on the neo-Nazi podcast “Achtung Amerikaner” to plug a new project: a social media channel dedicated to helping American parents home-school their children.

“We are so deeply invested into making sure that that child becomes a wonderful Nazi,” Mrs. Saxon told the podcast’s host. “And by home-schooling, we’re going to get that done.”

The Saxons said they launched the “Dissident Homeschool” channel on Telegram after years of searching for and developing “Nazi-approved material” for their own home-schooled children — material they were eager to share.
**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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