Monday, March 4, 2024

In Case You Missed It – March 4, 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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"I wonder how many Indiana legislators who have voted to add more testing for Hoosier kids spent hours in their elementary being tested and then evaluated by those standardized tests. Judging by the age of many if not most of them, I would guess very few. I am sure these people must have children/grandchildren in Indiana schools. How is it that they ignore data and expertise that clearly shows testing does not produce good educational results and in that ignorance continue to vote for more tests?" -- NEIFPE member Terry Springer on FaceBook.


Local stories dominated our social media this week, covering all four of our local school districts, and highlighting the importance of strong local news sources. Please support Fort Wayne area news sources.

This week's articles target elections, early childhood, and retirements. Subscribe to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette** and read the full articles online.

"Across the country...fewer eyeballs are probing into whether local and state governments are spending our tax dollars wisely. Fewer feature stories are being written about local people innovatively serving their towns. Fewer editorialists are helping shape a city or state’s agenda." -- William McKenzie, Senior Editorial Advisor at the Bush Institute in Strong Local Newspapers Are a Key to Strengthening Our Democracy

Residents push back on Northwest Allen County Schools election discussions

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Early discussion about Northwest Allen County Schools potentially adjusting board elections received pushback this week from residents, but the member instigating the topic said his efforts will continue.

“At some point, I will put together some sort of plan for this board to look at and decide what makes sense,” Darren Vogt said during Monday’s board meeting. “It will be listening to those folks in the audience and those folks that aren’t here that have talked to me about it as well. This is a community decision. Any plan that I present will be debated and discussed.”

The five-member school board has two at-large members and three members elected from residency districts – Eel River, Lake and Perry townships. All voters within NACS may vote for all five seats, regardless of their address.

Vogt, who was elected as an at-large member in 2022, said last month it’s time to revisit the residency districts because the townships vary in population.

Southwest Allen County Schools superintendent announces retirement

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
After an education career of 38 years, the Southwest Allen County Schools superintendent announced his retirement in a letter to parents Friday.

Park Ginder said he will retire at the end of the school year.

“I feel fortunate and privileged to collaborate with some of the brightest, most compassionate and dedicated faculty and staff, consistently making extraordinary contributions to the lives of our students and each other,” he said in the letter.

Ginder became the district’s superintendent in June 2021 after working as the principal at Homestead High School since 2013. He has also worked as principal at DeKalb High School, assistant principal at Carroll High School and department head and art teacher at Northrop High School and Shawnee Middle School.

East Allen County Schools considers early childhood agreement with Fort Wayne Community Schools

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
The East Allen County Schools board could approve an agreement next week with Fort Wayne Community Schools about a proposed early childhood learning center serving the districts’ teen parents.

The proposed memorandum of understanding indicates the facility is anticipated to be within EACS’ boundaries at Queen Street and Werling Drive in southeast Fort Wayne.

FWCS would be responsible for costs associated with constructing, equipping and operating the center because the districts anticipate “significantly more” FWCS students would have children attending the facility’s programs, the memorandum states.

The document further indicates that EACS would pay mutually agreed fees, if any.

FWCS announced in late 2022 that it planned to open a child care and early learning center to support teens balancing parenthood and high school.

Indiana Tech guarantees admission, tuition for eligible Fort Wayne Community Schools grads

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
All Fort Wayne Community Schools students who graduate with a minimum 2.0 GPA will be guaranteed admission to Indiana Tech under a new program announced Monday.

Promise IT will also cover full tuition and fees for FWCS students who are eligible for full federal Pell Grant and state college aid, Indiana Tech said in a news release. Students who aren’t Pell eligible will have access to other scholarship opportunities at the university to increase affordability.

The program begins with the next academic year.

Fort Wayne Community Schools to part with transportation site

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Fort Wayne Community Schools will soon seek buyers for property related to the recently shuttered South Transportation Center.

The school board on Monday approved a resolution authorizing the disposal of the 8.53-acre site, 6006 Ardmore Ave. The transportation center closed less than a year ago because of consolidation with the north location along Cook Road.

The district hired Steffen Group to handle the marketing and sale of the property.

Online personal property and real estate auctions are scheduled for April with board approval expected May 13, Chief Financial Officer Rosie Shipman said after the meeting.

Combining the two transportation centers has led to savings in areas including utilities and maintenance costs, said Renee Dawson, transportation director.


How the reading retention bill moving through Indiana Statehouse impacts English learners

Once again...does retention even help? Most research says no.

Also note that schools still face a penalty for low test scores...but are constrained by the legislature's micromanagement of schools and curriculum. Do legislators have more expertise than educators in curriculum and teaching methods?

From Chalkbeat* via
...The bill includes “good cause” exemptions to retention for several groups of students, including English learners who have received services for less than two years and whose teachers and parents agree that promotion is appropriate.

But advocates for English learners say that the exemption for this population doesn’t align with what research says about how long it takes for students to learn a new language.

With a growing population of 93,000 English learners in Indiana, and a history of shortages of educators licensed to teach language learners, advocates worry that English learners will be denied an appropriate education if they’re retained. The state also has an increasing number of immigrant students, some of whom will need language services.

Advocates also say the provision conflicts with the state’s implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which gives students six years to demonstrate proficiency in English before their schools face a penalty. Federal law also states that English learners should not be retained solely on the basis of their English language proficiency and that they are entitled to age-appropriate curriculum and participation in school programs.


ICYMI: In Like A Weasel Edition (3/3)

Like NEIFPE, Peter Greene at Curmudgucation, releases a weekly list of important education-related articles. Check it out.

From Peter Greene at Curmudgucation
Welcome to the GOP's new education agenda: Loot our public schools for private vouchers

Governor Roy Cooper and Governor Andy Bashear team up in this USA Today op-ed and they mince no words. If you'd like to see an elected official actually stand up for public education, you'll want to read this.
*Note: Financial sponsors of Chalkbeat include pro-privatization foundations and individuals such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, Gates Family Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and others.

**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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