Monday, December 11, 2023

In Case You Missed It – December 11, 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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"Private schools cannot be counted on to protect students’ civil rights...Private schools are always selective. They can select the students they prefer and push out students whose behavior or academic problems challenge staff. Many of the schools created as segregation academies continue to discriminate by race as do many private schools created more recently. Private schools can keep out students whose sexual orientation or gender identity violates the school’s religious preference. Unlike public schools which are required by the Individuals with Disability Education Act to provide services that accommodate the needs of each child, private schools can choose whether to provide appropriate programs and specially trained teachers. Sometimes the schools promise special services but fail to provide qualified staff." -- Jan Resseger in Public Schools: Our Essential Democratic Institution


Public Schools: Our Essential Democratic Institution

Public schools are essential to our democracy. What kind of nation do we want?

From Jan Resseger
For generations, public schooling has been our society’s largest and most widespread civic institution. Back in 1992 when The Good Society was published, Bellah and his colleagues could not have anticipated the widespread expansion of educational individualism in the form private school vouchers state governments are supporting today, but they did notice our society’s ethos of radical individualism as a threat to our essential institutions: “Freedom, for most Americans, is an essential ingredient to a definition of a good society, and one we affirm… But in the great society of today, freedom cannot mean simply getting away from other people. Freedom must exist within and be guaranteed by institutions, and must include the right to participate in the economic and political decisions that affect our lived idea of a good society.” (The Good Society, p. 9)

Most of us who oppose today’s explosion of bills across the states to establish or expand private school tuition vouchers are skilled enough to argue accurately about the practical detriments of private school tuition vouchers as they drive money out of states’ public school budgets. We have learned that today in most states, the students taking the vouchers are already enrolled in a private school and only using the money to discount the tuition their parents are already paying. Researchers have also documented conclusively that on the whole, students lose ground academically when they leave public schools and carry a voucher to a private school. (Chris Lubienski, T. Jameson Brewer, and Joel Malin, “Bait and Switch,” The School Voucher Illusion, pp. 127-147), and (Josh Cowen.) We know that vouchers divert tax dollars away from small towns and rural areas where the population is too small to support any private schools. And we know that many privatized schools fail to provide programming for English learners and special needs students, leaving behind the most expensive students to educate in the public schools.


Is Too Little Play Hurting Our Kids?

This fascinating article on children's mental health is a transcript from the Scientific American podcast, Science, Quickly.

From Scientific American
[Joseph] Polidoro: In the September issue of the Journal of Pediatrics, [Peter] Gray and his co-authors observed a continuous increase in depression, anxiety and suicide rates among children and adolescents since at least 1960. And they link it to a decline in unsupervised play and other independent activities.

[Peter] Gray: Play is how children pursue what’s fun for them. That’s an immediate source of mental health—part of mental health really means “I’m happy” or “I’m most satisfied with my life right now.”

Polidoro: Gray says that play and other independent activities also have far-reaching long-term effects on children’s mental health and resilience.

Gray: I think that the real crisis is that young people are losing a sense of, “I can solve problems, I can deal with bumps in the road of life.” And the way the children learn to do these things is through play where they are responsible to solve their own problems. They negotiate with their peers. They figure out how to solve quarrels among themselves. If somebody gets hurt, they figure out what to do about being hurt.


John Thompson: The Carnegie Unit in the Line of Fire

"Given the failed track record of the disruptive change, as well as Petrilli’s advocacy for it, we need to pay attention when he goes on record saying that the under-reported story of ‘multiple pathways—via multiple diplomas' could create 'multiple pitfalls.'"

From Diane Ravitch
John Thompson, historian and retired teacher in Oklahoma, noticed that the Carnegie Unit is under fire. Do you know what a Carnegie Unit is? It’s a measure of time spent learning a subject. Here’s the definition on the website of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching:

The unit was developed in 1906 as a measure of the amount of time a student has studied a subject. For example, a total of 120 hours in one subject—meeting 4 or 5 times a week for 40 to 60 minutes, for 36 to 40 weeks each year—earns the student one “unit” of high school credit. Fourteen units were deemed to constitute the minimum amount of preparation that could be interpreted as “four years of academic or high school preparation.”

Why is this controversial?


Teacher Honor Roll: FWCS educator collaborates to find best plan for students

Focus on FWCS teacher, Nicole Block.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Why did you become a teacher? I volunteered at my son’s elementary school and his second grade teacher, who later became my best friend and mentor, encouraged me to pursue teaching. As a volunteer, I directly saw the impact teachers have on children and I was inspired to do the same. My family and I relocated to Fort Wayne, I enrolled in a master’s program in special education, and I met (Snider Principal) Chad Hissong at Purdue’s Educator Career Fair. I have never looked back.

**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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