Monday, July 10, 2023

In Case You Missed It – July 10, 2023

Here are links to the last two 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 best choice is your local public school. It welcomes everyone. It unifies community. It is the glue of democracy." -- Diane Ravitch

July 1 was Diane Ravitch's 85th birthday.


U.S. Supreme Court Bans Affirmative Action in College Admissions. Will It Matter?

From Diane Ravitch
In a decision handed down today, the United States Supreme Court banned the use of race-based affirmative action in college admissions. The six conservative justices voted for the decision, the three moderate-liberal justices voted against it.

The media coverage stresses the likelihood that entrants to elite universities will become more Asian and more white, because of reliance on standardized tests, where those two groups typically have higher scores.

But we do not yet know how much it matters to eliminate official policies of affirmative action.


Supreme Court Declines to Rule on Whether Charter Schools Are Public or Private

From Diane Ravitch
Matt Barnum, writing in Chalkbeat, reports that the U.S. Supreme Court declined today to rule on whether charter schools are public or private.

The case at hand was a charter school in North Carolina that required girls to wear certain types of clothing. If the school were deemed “public,” its rule would be considered discriminatory. If it were deemed “private,” the school could write its own rules about student dress.

So the question remains open, and the Court of Appeals ruling that the school could not discriminate remains in place.


Politico: Republicans Flock to “Moms for Liberty” Event

From Diane Ravitch
Politico reported on the rising significance of “Moms for Liberty” among leading Republicans. “Moms” are known for their advocacy of censorship, book banning, and hatred for public schools.

BATTLE OF THE MOMS — Moms for Liberty is having a busy month...

How extremists ‘won by losing’

From School Matters
The John Birch Society was “the original Moms for Liberty,” as the headline on a recent episode of “Have You Heard” podcast puts it. Like the contemporary extremist group, it specialized in far-right rhetoric, conspiracy theories and bullying tactics. It appealed to a small but passionate group of true believers.

But there’s one big difference. The Birch Society, in its heyday of the late 1950s and ‘60s, was almost universally considered a fringe group. The news media marginalized it. Popular entertainers mocked it. Republicans, even many conservative Republicans, kept their distance.

Today, by contrast, Republican officeholders and candidates trip over themselves to appeal to Moms for Liberty and similar groups, like Indiana-based Purple for Parents. Indiana legislators fell in line with their agenda of attacking so-called critical race theory, diversity education, and LGBTQ+ youth. Lawmakers banned state funding for Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute based on disproven right-wing claims.


Indiana: More Laws to Stifle Freedom of Thought and Democracy

From Diane Ravitch
These are some of the new Indiana laws that will take effect on Saturday. [Indiana is run by the GOP and they have NO respect for public schools or teachers.] Gary is a poverty area and they cannot vote for their school board members. 87% of Hoosier children attend public schools and they are continuously underfunded.

Book bans — Every public school board and charter school governing body is required to establish a procedure for the parent of any student, or any person residing in the school district, to request the removal of library materials deemed “obscene” or “harmful to minors.” School districts must also post a list of the complete holdings of its school libraries on each school’s website and provide a printed copy of the library catalogue to any individual upon request. (HEA 1447)

Charter schools...

Gary schools...


New Indiana education dashboard data sheds light on student performance, teacher retention

From Indiana Capital Chronicle
An updated education data dashboard released this month by the Fairbanks Foundation shows declining teacher retention across Indiana, as well as increases to student suspensions and expulsions, among other trends. For the first time, the Community Data Snapshot additionally displays academic outcomes and workforce readiness information for Marion County on a school-by-school basis. Users can then sort that data by race, ethnicity and family economic status and other characteristics. The updated dashboard allows users to explore data by school corporation and compare metrics across school types, including by each district, public charter, Innovation Network, and private school — a feature not available through other online dashboards.

Rcharvet: How I Taught My Students to Love Reading

From Diane Ravitch
Rcharvet, a retired teacher and regular commenter here, explains how the pedagogy of the Common Core taught his students to dislike reading. They were supposed to read excerpts of books, not a complete book. They were expected to analyze the meaning of words and sentences instead of following the narrative of the story. Mr. Charvet became a subversive. He explains here.
...When I taught reading, I would read out loud so kids would HEAR the characters voices (yes I did the voices as well). For struggling readers they typically move through a sentence like they are walking on glass. But, we worked together.

One book that we started was “The Pig Man.” It started out slow (geez I was slow) but started liking the book to the point kids were saying, “Can we read The Pig Man and find out what happened?” They felt the words. They connected to the characters. We could ask questions like, “If you were Tommy what would you do in this case? What should the Pig Man do about the broken statue?” Then because I was making a connection to the book and trying to follow the curriculum I was deemed “moving too slow” and the department head said, “Just collect all the books and move on.”

What did I know?

Tom Ultican: “The Right to Read” is Horse Manure

Ultican shows the graphs of NAEP scores over the past thirty years: reading scores have been unchanged for 30 years. The rhetoric about “the crisis in reading” is a hoax.

From Diane Ravitch
In this illuminating post, Ultican analyzes a documentary called “The Right to Read,” which he compares to the propaganda film “Waiting for Superman.” Behind the film, he writes, is the whole apparatus of the corporate reform movement, armed with derogatory claims about public schools and a simplistic cure for literacy.

He begins:
The new 80-minute video “The Right to Read”was created in the spirit of “Waiting for Superman.” It uses false data interpretations to make phony claims about a non-existent reading crisis. Oakland’s NAACP 2nd Vice President Kareem Weaver narrates the film. Weaver is a full throated advocate for the Science of Reading (SoR) and has many connections with oligarch financed education agendas...

...One of the first media interviews about “The Right to Read” appeared on KTVX channel 4 in Salt Lake City. Ben Heuston from the Waterford Institute answered questions about the new film and the supposed “reading crisis” in American public schools. Heuston who has a PhD in psychology from Brigham Young University claimed that two-thirds of primary grade students in America read below grade level. That is a lie. He is conflating proficiency in reading on the National Assessment of Education Performance (NAEP) with grade level and should know better.


Michigan Passes Historic Increases for Education

From Diane Ravitch
It’s amazing to see what a state education budget can look like when you have pro-education legislators in charge–and teachers chairing the House and Senate Education Committees and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on PreK-12.

The budget includes:

•universal school meals

•foundation allowance increase of 5% — the largest in state history

•fully funded special education programs

•expanded Pre-K programs

•student teacher stipends for K-12

...Budgets are about more than dollars—they are moral documents; and in Michigan we are showing that we value our children, our families, and our future...


John Thompson: The Misinterpretation of NAEP Data

From Diane Ravitch
John Thompson writes here about the negative consequences of shallow reporting on NAEP data. Reporters are sensitive to whether scores are up or down, but tend to ignore contextual factors that may play a role in student performance.

He writes:

Despite the problems with education metrics, the decline in the nation’s 2022 math and reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test is worrisome – if we look at the big picture.

As Diane Ravitch explained, the decline in scores during the pandemic was a “duh” moment. Rather than publishing panicky headlines, these predictable drops in scores should be seen in the broader context of the decade of declines which followed the implementation of rushed and simplistic corporate school reforms. And, as we should have done previously, we must acknowledge what reformers should have previously understood – meaningful increases in learning require inter-connected, holistic team efforts, as opposed to metric-driven instructional shortcuts.

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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