Monday, June 5, 2023

In Case You Missed It – June 5, 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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"The reality of what DeSantis and Moms for Liberty are doing is now clear to everyone: With a combination of lies, misinformation, and intimidation, they want to create an America where it’s easier for a white supremacist to ban a book than it is for a Black child to read a poem." -- The Unprecedented Newsletter Blog


Today we look at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis's attack on public education. Along with his right-wing legislature, DeSantis has declared an all-out war on learning.

The three following stories focus on Florida's attack on public education and learning in general.

First, the Scientific American Editorial Board reviews Florida's anti-science agenda.

Then, Diane Ravitch and the Washington Post write about the move to restrict access to poetry by Amanda Gorman, whose poetry was featured in the 2021 Inauguration of President Biden.

Finally, before moving on to other topics, we present an article about how red states across the country (including Indiana) are following Florida's lead.

“Scientific American” Editorial Board Warns About DeSantis “Anti-Science Agenda”

From Diane Ravitch
Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, is running for president of the United States on a record of anti-diversity, pro-censorship, white nationalist measures. He has targeted education, LGBTQ rights and access to health care, and should he prevail, his anti-science candidacy stands to harm millions of Americans.

DeSantis has banned books in school libraries, restricted teachers’ classroom discussions about diversity, prohibited high school classes that focus on Black history and people, politicized college curricula, limited spending on diversity programs, ignored greenhouse gas reduction in climate change policy, diminished reproductive rights and outlawed transgender health care.

The governor has refused all evidence that masks are safe and help prevent COVID, appointed a surgeon general who advised against vaccines, and continues to paint science and evidence as restrictions to the freedom of Floridians. Instead of limiting the role of government, as he claimed in his fight against masks, he is expanding it to selectively promote a particular religious agenda.

Florida: The Banning of Amanda Gorman’s Poem Is Shameful

From Diane Ravitch
At this point, it should be obvious that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s culture-war directives are designed to encourage parents to indulge in book purges for sport. Precisely because removals have become so easy, lone right-wing actors are feverishly hunting for offending titles, getting them pulled from school libraries on absurdly flimsy grounds, sometimes by the dozens.

A new turn in the explosive saga involving the poem that Amanda Gorman read at President Biden’s inauguration underscores the point. DeSantis is now defending a Florida school’s decision to restrict access to “The Hill We Climb” — a move that has become a national controversy.

Book-Banning in Florida Is Contagious in Other Red States

From Diane Ravitch
...While efforts to ban books or censor education material have come up sporadically over the years, critics and supporters credit DeSantis with inspiring a new wave of legislation in other conservative states to regulate the books available in schools — and sometimes even in public libraries.

The number of attempts to ban or restrict books across the U.S. last year was the highest in the 20 years the American Library Association has been tracking such efforts.

EveryLibrary, a national political action committee, said it’s tracking at least 121 proposals introduced in state legislatures this year targeting libraries, librarians, educators and access to materials. The group said 39 of those proposals would allow for criminal prosecution.


State Takeovers Don’t Work. How About Radically Increasing Support for Communities and Kids Instead?

Last week we learned that full funding is important for schools to be successful.

This week, another aspect of failed (so-called) "reform" falls by the wayside...state takeover of schools.

It turns out that those Republicans who, in the 80s and 90s, called for "local control" were right. Local schools work better when states fully fund the state's school systems and let the local school boards do their job.

From Public Voices for Public Schools
When the state of Rhode Island took over the Providence Public School District in 2019, there was little reason to believe that outcomes for the struggling school district would meaningfully improve. In Detroit, student proficiency in both math and English dropped after the state took charge of the schools. Schools under state control in Memphis showed significantly less improvement than schools over which the city retained control. And in New Orleans, often touted as an example of a state takeover that worked, more than half of schools in the all-charter district earned D or F ratings in 2022.

The evidence that state takeovers don’t work keeps mounting. The most comprehensive study to date, published in 2021, found that, on average, state takeovers had no observable positive impact on student achievement. In fact, state takeovers are correlated with a drop in student ELA scores.


Teacher Honor Roll: Fort Wayne elementary school educator attuned to students' needs

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
A Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher has been nominated for Teacher Honor Roll in recognition of her caring and attentiveness. Her profile follows.

Sarah Schoolman
School: Lincoln Elementary

Grade teaching: Fourth grade...

What advice would you give to your students as they plan for their future? One piece of our classroom mission statement is “Learn all we can!” I challenge my students to become lifelong learners and to never turn down an opportunity for learning. Whether that’s reading a book, taking a class, or spending time with someone whom you can learn from – take advantage of every bit of learning you can!

**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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