Monday, April 22, 2024

In Case You Missed It – April 22, 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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"Does 3.0 represent a serious shift for the organization? Not really. The fundamental message of M4L has always been the same-- public schools are scary and terrible and good God-fearing people should either take them over or abandon them. Parental rights (but not student rights)! As Chris Rufo, hot young culture panic agitator, told a Hillsdale College audience, 'To get universal school choice, you really need to operate from a place of universal school distrust.'" -- From Peter Greene in Moms For Liberty 3.0


Moms For Liberty 3.0

Moms for Liberty - yet another group of right-wing warriors who hate public education.

From Peter Greene at Curmudgucation
First, there was Moms For Liberty Beta, called the Florida Coalition of School Board Members. Then came the actual Moms For Liberty launch, a group of ladies who were upset about masking and school building closures. That gave way pretty quickly to M4L 2.0, the group that was all about banning naughty books and clamping down on LGBTA ideology (whatever that is).

M4L 2.0 cruised along pretty well for a while. But as more people came to understand what they were up to, their thin skins, their desire to tell other moms what children should be allowed to read. their intolerance-- well, opposition started to swell. And their last election round wasn't very impressive (we'll never know exactly how unimpressive because, perhaps already sensing that their brand was tarnished, they backed away from endorsing so many candidates). And their beloved Ron DeSantis had to slink home in humiliation and defeat. And they went on 60 Minutes and couldn't really explain the terrible alleged indoctrination they were crusading against.

Make way for version 3.0.


Charter school goes shopping

Steve Hinnefeld at School Matters writes about what happens when failing charter schools go shopping for an authorizer after being dropped by a previous authorizer...or two.

From School Matters
Trine University came to the rescue eight years ago when Thea Bowman Leadership Academy was in danger of losing its charter and being shut down.

Now Trine has revoked the Gary, Indiana, school’s charter, citing academic and governance issues. But another private institution, Calumet College of St. Joseph, has stepped up.

“It’s funny how things have come full circle,” said Lindsay Omlor, executive director of Education One, Trine’s charter-school-authorizing office.

Today’s topic is authorizer shopping, what happens when charter schools jump from one authorizer to another to stay open or find a better deal. Thea Bowman looks to be taking the practice to a new level. It now has its third authorizer in less than a decade.


Jobs’ Reading Scam

Retired teacher and blogger Tom Ultican, writes that the science behind “the Science of Reading” movement is not very scientific. Publishers and vendors are preparing to cash in on legislative mandates that force reading teachers to use only one method to teach reading despite the lack of evidence for its efficacy. Ultican zeroes in on the role of billionaire Laurene Powell Jobs as one of the key players in promoting SofR.

From Tultican
Laurene Powell Jobs controls Amplify, a kids-at-screens education enterprise. In 2011, she became one of the wealthiest women in the world when her husband, Steve, died. This former Silicon Valley housewife displays the arrogance of wealth, infecting all billionaires. She is now a “philanthropist”, in pursuit of both her concerns and biases. Her care for the environment and climate change are admirable but her anti-public school thinking is a threat to America. Her company, Amplify, sells the antithesis of good education.

I am on Amplify’s mailing list. April third’s new message said,
“What if I told you there’s a way for 95% of your students to read at or near grade level? Maybe you’ve heard the term Science of Reading before, and have wondered what it is and why it matters.”
Spokesperson, Susan Lambert, goes on to disingenuously explain how the Science of Reading (SoR) “refers to the abundance of research illustrating the best way students learn to read.”

This whopper is followed by a bigger one, stating:
“A shift to a Science of Reading-based curriculum can help give every teacher and student what they need and guarantee literacy success in your school. Tennessee school districts did just that and they are seeing an abundant amount of success from their efforts.”
A shift to SoR-based curriculum is as likely to cause harm as it is to bring literacy success. This was just a used-car salesman style claim. On the other hand, the “abundance of success” in Tennessee is an unadulterated lie. National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) tracks testing over time and is respected for education testing integrity. Tennessee’s NAEP data shows no success “from their efforts.” Their reading scores since 2013 have been down, not a lot but do not demonstrate an “abundance of success”.

Too Much For Mere Mortals

Former classroom teacher Peter Greene knows that teachers are overworked. There are not enough hours in the day for them to meet all their obligations. What to do?

From Peter Greene at Curmudgucation
Being overworked is part of the gig, and some of us wear our ability to manage that workload as a badge of honor, like folks who are proud of surviving an initiation hazing and insist that the new recruits should suck it up and run the same gauntlet. On reflection, I must admit this may not be entirely healthy, especially considering the number of young teachers who blame themselves because they can't simply gut their way past having overloaded circuits.

There's also resistance because the "let's give teachers a break" argument is used by 1) vendors with "teacher-assisting" junk to sell and 2) folks who want to deprofessionalize teaching. That second group likes the notion of "teacher-proof" programs, curriculum in a box that can be delivered by any dope ("any dope" constitutes a large and therefor inexpensive labor pool).

We could lighten the teacher load, the argument goes, by reducing their agency and autonomy. Not in those exact words, of course. That would make it obvious why that approach isn't popular.


New ILEARN format will allow for more personalized learning for students

From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
An estimated 1,200 Hoosier schools including those in the Fort Wayne Community and East Allen County districts will pilot a new ILEARN assessment format next school year. This adds three preparatory tests to be administered prior to the typical end-of-year exam.

Summative assessments are intended to collect data on student performance, pinpoint problem areas and spur improved educational programs. But Indiana’s low proficiency rates on standardized tests have been used by proponents of the state’s school voucher system to claim public schools are failing Hoosiers.

The new setup, which will be adopted statewide for the 2025-26 school year, moves away from that played-out game. Instead, the preparation tests are diagnostic, helping teachers and parents learn where students between grades 3 and 8 are performing academically throughout the year and could better prepare them for the spring summative exam.

Approved by the State Board of Education last summer, the three preparatory tests will contain 20 to 25 questions focusing on four to six state education standards and a shortened summative exam in the spring. The new ILEARN setup will help educators implement remediation and intervention, such as additional tutoring for students who require it, ahead of the end-of-year exam, said Education Secretary Katie Jenner.

**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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