Monday, June 12, 2023

In Case You Missed It – June 12, 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 of our blog page to be informed when our blog posts are published.


According to NPE Executive Director Carol Burris, who co-authored [A Sharp Turn Right: A New Breed of Charter Schools Delivers the Conservative Agenda] with journalist Karen Francisco, “Sectarian extremists and the radical right are capitalizing on tragically loose controls and oversight in the charter school sector to create schools that seek to turn back the clock on civil rights and education progress. These schools teach their own brand of CRT–Christian Right Theory–capitalizing on and fueling the culture wars. As a taxpayer, I am appalled that my tax dollars are seeding such schools.” -- Diane Ravitch


Oklahoma Approves Nation’s First Religious Charter School

Charter schools claim to be public schools. Does that mean that they can't also be religious schools? Will the public be required to support religion with tax dollars -- just like Indiana and other states currently do with vouchers?

From Diane Ravitch
Sarah Mervosh wrote the story for the New York Times:

The nation’s first religious charter school was approved in Oklahoma on Monday, handing a victory to Christian conservatives, but opening the door to a constitutional battle over whether taxpayer dollars can directly fund religious schools.

The online school, St. Isidore of Seville Catholic Virtual School, would be run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa, with religious teachings embedded in the curriculum, including in math and reading. Yet as a charter school — a type of public school that is independently managed — it would be funded by taxpayer dollars.
Diane Ravitch followed up with this...

Oklahoma: Vote on Religious Charter School May Have Been Invalid

From Diane Ravitch
The board that cast a 3-2 vote to authorize a Catholic virtual charter school in Oklahoma may have been invalid because a new appointee was not supposed to be seated until November 1 and was not eligible to cast a vote.

Monday’s national headline-making vote to give state sanctioning and Oklahoma taxpayer dollars to a Catholic school may have been invalid.


Rev. Clark Frailey: Oklahoma Endorses Public Funding of Religious Indoctrination

An Oklahoma Pastor raises an objection.

From Diane Ravitch
Rev. Clark Frailey is the chair of Pastors for Oklahoma Kids and a strong supporter of public schools, open to all children. He wrote in the Oklahoman against the decision by a state board to authorize a religious charter school. The original title of this article is: “Pastor: We’ve heard much about ‘indoctrination.’ What do you call Catholic charter school?”
Before the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, I recently testified that authorizing a religious private school as a public charter school would be an egregious violation of our state constitution, the First Amendment, and religious liberty.

Plainly stated: Church and state should be separate.

Remote authorizing for charter schools raises questions

Diane Ravitch gave this story national attention on her blog as well.

From School Matters
Seven Oaks Classical School in Ellettsville received a 5-year extension to its operating charter recently. Well, not that recently. It happened in December 2022. Ellettsville and Monroe County residents may have missed it, though, because the extension was approved nearly 200 miles away.

It was approved by the three-member board of Grace Charters LLC, a nonprofit formed by Grace College and Theological Seminary to authorize charter schools, which are publicly funded and privately operated. The board met on the Grace College campus in Winona Lake, Indiana.

To meet legal requirements for public meetings, a notice was published in the local newspaper: the Warsaw Times-Union, which probably no one in Monroe County reads. One member of the public attended, according to minutes of the meeting: Seven Oaks headmaster Stephen Shipp.

The situation highlights the tension between public and private in Indiana charter schools. The Seven Oaks website says charter schools are “tuition-free, open-enrollment public schools.” But the school’s authorizer, which sets the terms of its operation and is supposed to hold it accountable, is a private, Christian college with no connection to the community where the school operates.



Despite Jefferson's belief to the contrary, and despite Indiana's constitutional ban, Indiana uses tax dollars to support religious institutions. You, as a taxpayer, don't get to choose which religious institutions to support -- or not support. The State does that for you.

From Sheila Kennedy
An editorial by current Lt. Governor and 2024 gubernatorial candidate Suzanne Crouch was titled “Why I support Universal School Choice for Hoosier Families.” Of course, “school choice” sounds way nicer than “Why I support destroying Indiana’s public schools,” or “Why I support school vouchers despite overwhelming evidence that they don’t deliver educational benefits, are socially divisive, and are a huge taxpayer subsidy to religious institutions.”

If you doubt the accuracy of that last statement, the IBJ helpfully included lists of Indiana’s largest private primary and secondary schools. Only four of the 25 primary schools listed were not religious–Park Tudor, Orchard, Sycamore and the International School. Park Tudor–a very expensive private school ($25,930 a year!)– doesn’t accept vouchers. Sycamore limits enrollment to gifted and talented children, and the International School also appeals to a specialized constituency.

All of the other schools on a list headed by the Oaks Academy and Heritage Christian School are either Catholic, or conservative or fundamentalist Christian.


Rich Migliore: Our Most Precious Rights Are at Risk

From Diane Ravitch
Freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the freedom to read books of our choice are among our most precious human rights. And the freedom from having other people’s religion and beliefs imposed upon us is among our basic human rights as a free people. That is why they were placed first in the Bill of Rights.

...“The classroom is peculiarly the ‘marketplace of ideas.’ The nation’s future depends upon leaders trained through wide exposure to that robust exchange of ideas which discovers truth ‘out of a multiple of tongues, (rather) than through any kind of authoritative selection.”

Our founders wisely separated church and state. And the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process clause protects our liberty interest in freedom of thought, freedom of belief and freedom of religion.

We do not give up those rights “when we cross the school house gates.” Nor do our children.


Teacher Honor Roll: Parent praises Northwest Allen County Schools educator for helping son thrive

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Charles Kaduk

School: Arcola Elementary

Grade teaching: Fifth grade

Education: Bachelor’s degree in education, IPFW

Years teaching: Eight

...Book you’d recommend: “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo

...Favorite teaching memory: My first year of teaching, Courtney Waddlesworth, the Arcola duck, nested in our courtyard and we walked the ducklings through the hallways. This meant so much to me because ducks are my theme because of being called “Chuck Ka-Duck” my whole life because of the spelling of my last name (it’s Ka-Duke). This caused some of the younger students to think I can commune with waterfowl.

...What advice would you give to your students as they plan for their future? Set your own winning conditions for life. Don’t let the world do it for you.


"10 Transitional Books to Kick Off #SummerReading"

From the School Library Journal
School Library Journal has proudly partnered with We Are Kid Lit Collective to share and promote the group's annual summer reading recommendations.

In the next couple of weeks, SLJ will publish individual posts featuring their recommendations for picture books, transitional books, middle grade, and young adult titles.

Part of We Are Kid Lit Collective's 2023 Summer Reading selections, this list features early chapter books, graphic novels, and other transitional books for emerging readers.

**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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