Monday, May 8, 2023

In Case You Missed It – May 8, 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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"Vouchers are not about freeing or empowering parents. They are about empowering private interests to chomp away at the giant mountain of education money in this country. They are about dismantling any sort of oversight and accountability..." -- Peter Greene


Another Day Another Charter Scandal

The Network for Public Education, a national network advocating for public schools, keeps a log of charter scandals. April of 2023 was a busy month for charter schools. Below are just a few examples of the scandals facing charter schools which are often opened where they are not needed, by those who are only interested in making a buck, and who seem to disappear once the money is in their hands.

From the Network for Public Education
39 charter scandals in the month of April.

04/27/2023 - Girls charter school in Las Vegas closing due to funding, enrollment issues
Girls charter school in Las Vegas closing due to funding, enrollment issues

04/24/2023 - N. Charleston charter school ordered to close after violations, noncompliance
The Charter Institute at Erskine’s Board of Directors, tasked with authorizing charter schools in South Carolina, voted Monday to revoke the charter of Gates School “due to systemic findings of noncompliance of state and federal special education law.”

04/16/2023 - Former Superintendent of Cincinnati Technology Academy Sentenced After Guilty Plea to Having an Unlawful Interest in a Public Contract
The former superintendent of a Cincinnati charter school was fined $1,000 and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service after a janitorial business he controlled was improperly contracted to provide services to the school, Auditor of State Keith Faber announced.


Florida: How the State Tries to Cover Up Problems in Voucher Schools

Private schools love vouchers -- public funds which come with little or no public oversight.

From Diane Ravitch
Leslie Postal and Annie Martin are star reporters for The Orlando Sentinel. In 2017, they wrote a three-part series on Florida’s voucher schools, showing the incidence of discrimination and unqualified staff, among other problems. The series, called “Schools Without Rules,” painted a devastating portrait of the low quality of the voucher sector.

This year, they sought access to the state’s records to open a new investigation. The state stonewalled them and put a high price on their access to public records. Here is their report...

Peter Greene: The True Purpose of Vouchers!

Peter Greene tells -- in excellent detail -- the truth about vouchers.

From Diane Ravitch
Vouchers are not about freeing or empowering parents. They are about empowering private interests to chomp away at the giant mountain of education money in this country. They are about dismantling any sort of oversight and accountability; it’s striking how many of these voucher bills/laws very specifically forbid the state to interfere with the vendors in any way, shape or form.

Think of voucher programs this way.

The state announces, “We are dismantling the public education system. You are on your own. You will have to shop for your child’s education, piece by piece, in a marketplace bound by very little oversight and very few guardrails. In this new education ecosystem, you will have to pay your own way. To take some of the sting out of this, we’ll give you a small pocketful of money to help defray expenses. Good luck.”


Five Hard Truths About The Big Standardized Test

There seems to be no amount of reasoning and evidence to get our legislators to act on the fact that the BS Tests (Big Standardized Tests) are a huge waste of students' and teachers' time, and our tax dollars. Perhaps it's time to think about voting for legislators who will listen to reason...and evidence.

From Curmudgucation
The five hard truths about the BS Test:

1) State tests are not diagnostic

Since Day One of the rise of the BS Test, critics have pointed out repeatedly that a single standardized test cannot be used for a dozen different purposes. A test that is used to measure achievement is not useful for diagnosing student needs. Tienken can explain this in more professional terms, but for laypeople, there are many analogies. You can't measure water temperature or volume with a yardstick. A tool that ranks students according to height does not tell you how tall any given student actually is. If you want a test to diagnose what students need to plug holes in their understanding, test experts can tell you how to design it, and the BS Tests do not meet those design specs.

2) State tests are predictable.

See above. Tienken has repeated and repeated versions of the earlier research in state after state. The fact that test results can be predicted by using demographic factors strongly suggests that, at a minimum, we are spending way too much in time and resources to get information we could easily elsewhere. Also, maybe that information isn't really telling us what we were promised it would tell us.

3) State test results are influenced by family income and background knowledge...

4) Standardized tests disadvantage English Language Learners...

5) Standardized tests disadvantage students with individualized education programs...

Session wrap-up: How bad was it for schools and students?

We’ve gotten used to saying “How bad was it?” at the end of Indiana General Assembly sessions. This year the answer is what you might expect. The Republican supermajority targeted public schools (as usual) and did significant damage.

Blogger Steve Hinnefeld provides a good summary.

From School Matters
Expanding the voucher program and banning gender-affirming care for minors were the most egregious education-related actions that the Indiana General Assembly took in the session that just concluded. But they are far from the only damage lawmakers did.

Book banning. Legislators teased the idea of banning books and criminalizing librarians all session, then finally put the language in a House-Senate conference committee report and passed it on the last day. House Bill 1447 requires schools to publish lists of all the books and materials in their libraries and create a procedure to challenge books as obscene or harmful to minors. Making obscene or harmful materials available to minors is a felony, and the bill repeals a provision that lets school librarians defend themselves by arguing the books are educational or they’re acting in the capacity of their employment. It was approved 69-28 by the House and 39-10 by the Senate on the last day of the session.

Union busting...

Career training vouchers...

[...and more...]


Ex-Indiana schools chief Jennifer McCormick enters governor's race

No Democrat has won the Governor's office in Indiana for over a decade. Is it time for a change?

It's time to put Hoosiers first. Support Jennifer McCormick.

From 13 WTHR
INDIANAPOLIS — Former Indiana state schools superintendent Jennifer McCormick launched a 2024 campaign for governor Thursday, taking on the daunting goal of flipping the state’s top office from Republican to Democrat after making the same political switch herself.

McCormick broke with Statehouse Republicans over education policy in the years after her successful 2016 campaign as the GOP candidate for state schools chief. She changed her party affiliation after her term ended in early 2021 and has traveled the state for several months speaking at Democratic and public school advocacy events.
See Also:
McCormick officially enters governor’s race

Jennifer McCormick (D) announces 2024 run for Indiana governor

Ex-Indiana schools chief McCormick enters governor's race**

SACS ponders partnership with YMCA to address staffing concerns

Southwest Allen County Schools is looking to the YMCA to help with childcare for staffing.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — On Wednesday, school board members with Southwest Allen County Schools (SACS) discussed the possibility of partnering with YMCA to address staffing concerns.

With SACS moving to a three-tier model of start and stop times for its schools starting with the 2023-2024 school year, more schools will be partaking in the district’s Friendship Company program that offers child care for parents both before and after school.

Therefore, SACS is considering partnering with YMCA in order to have their staff members fill the void that will be created when the new model is implemented.


Illinois Will Withhold State Funds from Institutions that Ban Books

Stand up to the culture war censors. Read banned books.

From Diane Ravitch
Good news! The legislature in Illinois has passed a law to withhold state funds from institutions that ban books. Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign it.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker (D) is expected to sign a bill that would withhold state funds from institutions that ban books amid nationwide efforts to pull some titles from shelves.

**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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