Monday, July 24, 2023

In Case You Missed It – July 24, 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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"Teachers are leaving the profession in droves, and they have been doing so for a while. Short-sighted leaders are attempting to put a Band-Aid on an open wound that has been festering for more than two decades, with quick fixes such as sign-on bonuses and reductions in licensure requirements." -- University of Indianapolis Professor of Secondary Education Sarah M. Denney in IndyStar 


Who Will Teach Indiana's Children?

Who will teach Indiana's children? Hard to attract, retain teachers in current climate

The Republican supermajority in the Indiana General Assembly has been doing its best to kill public education in the state for over a decade. Is it any wonder that qualified teachers are leaving the profession and classroom positions are left unfilled?

From IndyStar
According to a Chalkbeat study analyzing teacher turnover data from eight states, the teacher shortage remains, and it is getting worse. Rising teacher turnover rates and growing shortages put the quality of our children’s education at risk.

The teaching profession is bleeding qualified teachers, and our children are suffering. If we want to save the teaching profession, and by extension, our children’s education, we need to reduce the bureaucratic workload on teachers, set aside damaging political battles and require all educators to come to the classroom with appropriate training and certification.

The profession is being systematically dismantled by adding layers upon layers of bureaucratic red tape, with workload and working conditions being a major factor in teacher attrition. The Indiana Department of Education reported 1,675 open teaching positions in mid-August, when many school sessions had already begun.

North Carolina Follows Indiana's Lead

North Carolina: Vouchers Fund Schools That Discriminate Based on Religion, Disability, LGBT Status

Just like Indiana...
  • Divert money from public schools to private schools -- check!
  • Subsidize the private school education of wealthy students -- check!
Apparently, North Carolina has learned how to damage public schools by watching Indiana.

From Diane Ravitch
Justin Parmenter, a National Board Certified Teacher in North Carolina, is concerned that vouchers in his state will go to private and religious schools that discriminate when they choose their students. Republicans in the Legislature have a super-majority since a teacher elected as a Democrat—Tricia Cotham—betrayed her voters and flipped parties. Republicans can pass whatever they want without fear of a veto. Would you want your tax money to fund a school that would not accept your own child or one where teachers speak in tongues?

He wrote recently:

As this year’s legislative session hits the homestretch, public education advocates are waiting to see whether proposed changes to North Carolina’s school voucher system become law.

On the House side, brand new Republican Rep. Tricia Cotham sponsored House Bill 823, a bill which would expand funding for vouchers by hundreds of millions of dollars a year until the annual amount going to school vouchers eclipses $500 million in school year 2032-33 and every year thereafter.

In addition to massively increasing funding for vouchers, the proposed legislation eliminates income eligibility requirements so that any student in the state–regardless of financial need–may use public money to attend private schools. That means North Carolina taxpayers will be subsidizing the tuition of wealthy families whose students already attend private schools.
Idaho Joins the "Destroy Public School" Club

Idaho: How to Destroy Public Schools and Grab the Money: Connect the Dots

...and Idaho follows suit as well.

From Diane Ravitch
Idaho will spend $2.3 billion on K-12 public education in 2024. There are powerful out-of-state forces who want to get their hands on that money. Some are driven by profit, others by political ideology, religious beliefs, or a combination of interests. They all share one common goal: shift your public schools dollars to the private sector. Here are some of the dots to connect in the “privatizing public education” playbook:
  1. Make public schools look worse than other school choices. The legislature does this by continually underfunding public education. Schools can’t meet parental expectations, accommodate growth, or hire/retain experienced teachers when salaries are not competitive and buildings are falling apart. Idaho has a backlog of over $1 billion in K-12 school building maintenance and we’re still at or near the bottom in per-student investment, even after having a $2.1 billion surplus and a recent budget increase. This makes other school choices look more attractive by comparison.
  2. Undermine confidence in public schools...
  3. Hide the facts...
  4. Legislative intimidation. New laws are making classrooms a hostile workplace...
  5. Promote “school choice” and “education freedom.” ...
  6. Kill public education with vouchers (deceptively called Education Savings Accounts, or ESAs)....


Oklahoma: $39 Million in Federal Pandemic Funds Tilted Towards Private Schools, Not the Neediest

Oklahoma funnels much-needed school aid to private schools rather than where it's needed.

From Diane Ravitch
Two nonprofit news organizations in Oklahoma—The Frontier and Oklahoma Watch—teamed up to discover a misuse of federal funding by special interest groups. One such group was Betsy DeVos’s American Federation for Children. The state received $39 million to aid students during the pandemic.

Millions in federal relief money meant to help Oklahoma students during the pandemic was misspent at the hand of special interest groups who gave preferential treatment to private schoolers while hundreds of needy children missed out on financial aid, a state audit has found.

The Stay in School program provided tuition assistance of up to $6,500 for private school students whose families were financially affected by the pandemic.

An audit released Tuesday also confirmed flaws in how the state handled the Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet pandemic relief program. A joint investigation by The Frontier and Oklahoma Watch last year revealed how families spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in Bridge the Gap money on video game consoles, Christmas trees and grills.


North Carolina: Legislators Want to Declare That Charters Are Private Schools

These Charter schools want it both ways. They want public funding, and they want to be able to set their own rules without public oversight.

From Diane Ravitch
A North Carolina charter school has a rule requiring girls to wear skirts, as they did in the good old days. The courts said that if they are a public school, they can’t impose such a discriminatory rule. The school insisted it was “not a state actor” and not public. As matters stand, the school can’t force girls to wear skirts.

This is a dilemma. The national charter lobby has made a point of claiming that charters are public schools and are entitled to full public funding. They call themselves “public charter schools” to make the point. I have maintained for years that charter schools are not public schools because they don’t have an elected board, they are not accountable to anyone, they make up their own rules about admissions and discipline, etc.

But North Carolina legislators want to pass a law saying that charter schools are not public schools because the owner of the charter in question is a member of the rightwing elite. If he wants girls to wear skirts, they should wear skirts.


Fort Wayne Community Schools gives new teachers 'red-carpet moment' as orientation begins

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The strip of red carpet Fort Wayne Community Schools unfurled for its new teachers didn’t go unnoticed Monday when the educators arrived for the first day of a two-week orientation.

As the new employees left the Parkview Mirro Center for lunch, administrator Ramona Coleman recalled the gasps she heard as staff and school board members welcomed the educators with hugs, high-fives, handshakes and fist bumps – whichever they preferred.

By adorning the entrance with a red carpet – something often used by Hollywood – the district wanted the teachers to recognize the value they are bringing to FWCS, Coleman said.

“Just like the movie stars have their Oscar moments, well, this was our red-carpet moment for our teachers,” said Coleman, assistant superintendent of human capital management. “I shared with them this morning that they could have chosen any other district. However, they chose us, and we’re very grateful that they made that choice.”
**Note: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette is behind a paywall. Digital access, home delivery, or both are available with a subscription. Staying informed is essential; 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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