Monday, October 9, 2023

In Case You Missed It – October 9, 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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"There is a well-resourced and coordinated effort among far-right institutions to undermine public education—whether that is through misappropriating funds like the legislature did in Mississippi to divert funds to private schools, or to pass burdensome censorship agenda laws that have led to shortages and burdens on teachers." -- Skye Perryman, founder and CEO of Democracy Forward


People Power Vs. the Far Right Education Movement

Last week was "Banned Book Week." Just because the week is over doesn't mean that books won't continue to be attacked by closed minds.

From The Progressive
Although book bans are wildly unpopular with American voters, right-wing pressure groups like Moms for Liberty have succeeded in convincing Republican lawmakers to remove titles due to their portrayals of gender diversity or racism. Now that almost all schools have reopened for the new school year, followers of education policy and politics, as well as free speech advocates, are watching closely to see if there will be efforts to pass more of these laws.

Last school year, at least seven states passed ambiguously-worded laws that criminalized school teachers and librarians for exposing students to books that have been deemed as too “obscene.” Governors in two of these states vetoed the new laws, but “[a]nother dozen states considered more than twenty similar bills this year, half of which are likely to come up again in 2024,” according to The Washington Post.

An especially extreme book banning was, the Post reported, “an Arkansas measure that says school and public librarians, as well as teachers, can be imprisoned for up to six years or fined $10,000 if they distribute obscene or harmful texts.” The law was meant to go into effect on August 1, but in July, a federal judge blocked it because it imposed a threat to First Amendment rights. The lawsuit that led to the judge’s ruling came from a broad coalition of authors, educators, and publishers that were represented in part by the progressive legal group Democracy Forward.


Digital Dystopia: The Danger in Buying What the EDTech Surveillance Industry is Selling

Who's watching your child?

Digital Dystopia: The Danger in Buying What the EdTech Surveillance Industry is Selling, an ACLU research report, examines the EdTech Surveillance (educational technologies used for surveillance) industry in U.S. K-12 schools. Using in-depth investigation into industry products, an incident audit, student focus groups, and national polling, this report scrutinizes industry claims, assesses the efficacy of the products, and explores the impacts EdTech Surveillance has on students and schools. The report concludes by offering concrete actions school districts, elected officials, and community members can take to ensure decisions about using surveillance products are consistent and well-informed. This includes model legislation and decision-making tools, which will often result in the rejection of student surveillance technologies.


Yet another Superintendent of the Year award reflects well on Allen County

EACS Superintendent, Marilyn Hissong is one of Indiana Superintendents of the Year.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Allen County’s public schools have been blessed with talented leaders over the years. East Allen County Schools’ Marilyn Hissong is the latest local schools chief to be recognized as among Indiana’s best.

At a joint conference of the Indiana Association of Public Schools Superintendents and the Indiana School Boards Association Sept. 25, Hissong was one of seven top school administrators announced as the 2024 Superintendents of the Year for their geographic districts.

A graduate of East Allen schools, Hissong started her career at the district as a teacher and volleyball coach before moving into administrative roles, according to an EACS news release. After Ken Folks retired in 2017, she was promoted to superintendent from assistant superintendent of elementary education.

“As of July 1, 2023, I had the extreme privilege and honor of completing my 30th year in education, all which has been with East Allen County Schools,” she said in a statement.

She will represent the state in the national Superintendent of the Year competition.

44 to give input on diversity issues at Southwest Allen County Schools

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Representatives from the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism, or FAIR, will facilitate the discussions along with others for secondary students, administrators and Parent Teacher Club presidents.

“The participants are representative of our district and will likely bring differing viewpoints, beliefs and experiences to the sessions,” Fleming said in a statement.

The school board recently approved a $10,000 listening session agreement with FAIR in response to demonstrations and discussions that disrupted classes at Homestead last academic year.

That February day, minority students told The Journal Gazette the viral images of a classmate in blackface were the last straw in repeated mistreatment they’ve endured.

SACS is a predominantly white district. Last academic year, students of color represented 25% of enrollment, with Black and Hispanic students each accounting for 7%, according to state enrollment data. Homestead’s demographics were similar.

Southwest Allen County Schools ready to give in-depth look to 25 advocates

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Twenty-five people, mostly parents, will begin their in-depth look at Southwest Allen County Schools operations in October.

The group is the first class of SACS Education Advocates, a new monthly program that attracted 61 applicants – a response that pleased Superintendent Park Ginder.

“We hope that applications grow and that new leaders emerge from this process, so I am hopeful that we will continue to host this program and help educate our community concerning all facets of what it entails to run a school district and individual schools,” he said by email this week.

Several central Indiana districts inspired the program, which should provide insight about what it takes to serve more than 7,500 students, Ginder has said.
**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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