Monday, January 8, 2024

In Case You Missed It – January 8, 2024

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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Happy New Year! and welcome back to NEIFPE's In Case You Missed It. This week we bring you more than a dozen articles that received wide attention on our social media platforms over the recent winter holidays. Note that the source for more than half the articles is the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. To support this vital source of local news see the link at the end of this post.

"Universal ESA vouchers threaten to accomplish in Arizona exactly what they were designed to do: dismantle public education. Arizona would be wise to follow the nation in learning from our mistakes — before it’s too late." -- Beth Lewis and Dr. Sharon Kirsch in One year in, Arizona’s universal school vouchers are a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation.


Josh Cowen: 2023 Was a Banner Year for Vouchers, Censorship, and Attacks on LGBT Kids

From Diane Ravitch
Writing in the Washington Spectator, veteran voucher researcher Josh Cowen reports that 2023 was a good year for some very bad ideas, many supported by prominent rightwingers and Dark Money, whose sources are hidden.


The Network for Public Education's School Voucher Scam$ page, which began in September of 2023 in response to the recent flood of irresponsible universal voucher programs includes a sorting feature that allows you to search charter scandals by state and by 12 categories. You can also search by keyword.

From the Network for Public Education

One More Time…

From Sheila Kennedy
Arizona, like Indiana, has a legislature dominated by Republicans, and those legislators sold the concept of universal vouchers by insisting (as they did in Indiana) that it would help low-income students. They also insisted that the additional cost to the state would be negligible.

As the paper reports, just one year into what it calls “this failed experiment,” it has become apparent that universal ESA vouchers are welfare for the wealthy. They are also on a path that will “devastate the state’s budget and lead to school closures, teacher layoffs, and eventually cuts to services like firefighters, health care, roads and more.”


South Carolina: Moms for Liberty Will Open Their Own Charter School in Affluent Neighborhood

From Diane Ravitch
Steve Bailey, an opinion writer for the Charleston Post and Courier, wrote recently about the new charter school that will open in an affluent neighborhood in Charleston. It will use the Hillsdale College curriculum. The Moms predict it will be the highest performing school in the area. With the freedom to choose its students and to oust the ones who are problematic, it’s sure to get high gest scores.


Indiana public schools' learning loss recovery slow, uneven: study

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Indiana’s public schools continue to experience the effects of pandemic-related learning loss, with recovery happening at a slow and uneven pace, according to a new study by Ball State University researchers.

“We were surprised at the persistence of learning loss since COVID,” researcher Michael Hicks said in a statement. “Recovery in test scores has been modest across the state, with little to suggest a full recovery is on the way.”

Indiana joins new summer food program for school children

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Last month, the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Family Resources notified the federal Department of Agriculture of its intent to participate in the 2024 Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children program.

'23 graduation rate is a testament to resilience in youth

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
As the Indiana General Assembly seeks to remake Hoosier high schools, it would be good to listen closely to educators on what’s promoting or hindering success then work toward prompting holistic strategies rather than punitive policy.

As for the graduates of 2023 — with a nod to educators and families — here’s a belated congratulations on showing perseverance during a highly anxious time in history.

These are the major education topics Indiana lawmakers expect to focus on in 2024

Topics include improving third-grade literacy, tackling chronic absenteeism, revisiting career readiness, targeting cell phones, and cracking down on antisemitism.

From the Indiana Capital Chronicle
Although Indiana lawmakers maintain the 2024 legislative session will be quicker, quieter and “noncontroversial,” there’s no shortage of critical — even touchy — education-related topics expected to be prioritized in the coming months.

Jim Banks And The GOP War On Education…

From Sheila Kennedy
Jim Banks–aka “Focus on the Family’s Man in Washington“–wants to be the next U.S. Senator from Indiana. During his tenure in the House, he has made most of his agenda very, very clear: a federal ban on abortion with no exceptions; no recognition of, or help for, trans children; no restrictions on gun ownership; no affirmative action or other recognition of the effects of racial disparities (he wants to ban DEI programs); no funding for Ukraine, and–as this last bit of news confirms– a constant war on education.

Why aren’t Hoosier kids showing up to school — and what can Indiana lawmakers do to help?

From the Indiana Capital Chronicle
Indiana lawmakers are adamant that moving bills to help improve student literacy and bolster career readiness is high-priority in the upcoming legislative session. But their efforts could end up fruitless if the state can’t solve another issue plaguing schools: Hoosier kids aren’t showing up to the classroom.


550 Whitley County children sign up for free books through expanding program

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
More than 500 Whitley County children will receive a book every month until they turn 5 through a program that’s expanding statewide, the United Way of Whitley & Kosciusko Counties announced in a news release Wednesday.

The organization is an affiliate for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a book-gifting program for children younger than 5, regardless of family income. The release said the books grow with the child, progressing from board books to picture books to full-length stories.

Fort Wayne Community Schools prepares for next major renovation

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools recently checked off an initial step toward its 25th major renovation.

SACS considers hiring speaker to advance work in creating culture of belonging, understanding

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Southwest Allen County Schools’ relationship with the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism might continue, pending board approval to spend $10,000 to host the nonpartisan group’s leader early next year.

Allen County school districts find remedies for bus driver shortage

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
When East Allen County Schools is short on bus drivers, Charles Ward is among the first to pick up an additional route to ensure students arrive to school and return home.

...This practice is among the solutions Allen County school districts have used when they lack bus drivers. Other remedies include asking transportation office staff to drive and shifting schools to e-learning, something Fort Wayne Community Schools used once this fall when a significant number of drivers were absent because of personal or family sickness.

Northwest Allen County Schools busing changes 'LEAD' to benefits

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The Northwest Allen County Schools transportation department has never been busier hiring drivers.

The district, which has about 6,300 bus riders, welcomed 15 drivers this calendar year – a record high based on the documents available to Natalie Hoffman, transportation director.

**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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