Monday, May 20, 2024

In Case You Missed It – May 20, 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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"Vouchers were supposed to improve educational outcomes for poor children. The programs have not only failed to improve learning outcomes, they have increased racial segregation, facilitated religious discrimination, and been a windfall for the wealthy (many of whom already had children in private schools), all while robbing the nation’s public schools of desperately needed resources.

They’ve been a civic and educational disaster."
-- Sheila Kennedy in Race, Religion, Money And Vouchers


Race, Religion, Money And Vouchers

Not only do voucher programs drain money from public schools, fail to increase student achievement, and fill the bank accounts of religious organizations with public tax dollars, but they have also led to a rise in school segregation.

From Sheila Kennedy
The nefarious effects of educational vouchers continue to be documented.

The Washington Post recently reported on a study confirming what a number of prior studies have suggested: that an unexpected rise in racial segregation is largely attributable to the expansion of school voucher programs.
Ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, a study being released Monday shows a pronounced increase in school segregation since 1988, particularly in large school districts with significant numbers of Black students.

Overall, school segregation between Black and White students has increased by 25 percent since 1991 in the 533 large districts serving at least 2,500 Black students — a significant increase but nowhere near the decline that occurred in the aftermath of Brown, according to the study. (Of note: the paper makes clear that most of the school segregation in the United States is driven by demographic differences between districts, not within them.)
The study found that the problem was not housing segregation, although that certainly helps explain school segregation, because housing has become less segregated since 1991. It also found that rising school segregation isn’t driven by economic inequality, which has also declined over this period.
The researchers point to two specific policies: federal courts releasing school districts, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg, from obligations to desegregate schools beginning in significant numbers in the late 1990s; and school-choice policies that let parents pick what school their children attend.


Peter Greene: Elon Musk Proclaims His Views about Fixing Education

Your child's teachers know more about education than your local, state, and federal legislators, media pundits, and the billionaires who regularly dump their riches into schemes detrimental to public schools.

From Diane Ravitch
I think most educators would agree that they are tired of getting lectures from billionaires about how to teach or how to fix the problems of American education.

But Peter Greene reports that the richest man in the world, Elon Musk, has decided it’s time for him to add his uninformed views to those of Bill Gates, Betsy DeVos, the Walton family, and a long list of financiers, all of whom use their wealth to change the schools.

The Grinch Who Stole Teacher Appreciation Week

The younger the children, the more important the teachers are, and the less they're paid. It's time to realign our priorities to favor our children...and our future.

From Teacher in a Strange Land Blog - Nancy Flanagan
I’ve always been of the opinion that teachers get so few routine perks in their professional lives they deserve every random treat or award that meanders their way–from sticky little misspelled mash notes to free use of a leased SUV.

After all, there aren’t many workplaces where professionals end up providing their own materials, cleaning services and professional development. There aren’t many college-educated specialists who gladly share their expertise for free–or attend a weekend conference on their own dime, then arrive at work on Monday morning, without a thought for “comp time.” Because if they didn’t show up, someone would have to pay. And it shouldn’t be the teacher next door, or their students.

For these reasons, and a hundred more, nobody begrudges teachers the tokens of appreciation that come their way this week, from the handmade construction-paper cards to the potluck lunch from the PTA. I love it when teachers invite their former students to check in on Facebook–or when they post their stats (years of experience, states/countries/schools, degrees, subjects and so on). It’s good to see colleagues reclaim their honor or share a few points of pride.

But it’s time we asked ourselves just who gets ‘appreciated’ once a year–and whose work is considered vital, essential, and fully professional year-round, with no need for annual symbolic gestures. There’s something about Teacher Appreciation Week that smacks of a pat on the head for being willing to go the distance without adequate compensation or support. We’re supposed to persist and excel ‘for the kids’–a phrase that teachers rightfully perceive as specious and manipulative.


School meals get an upgrade: What to expect going forward

From the Center for Science in the Public Interest
In April 2024, the USDA issued its 2024 Final Rule Requirements for School Meal Programs. This rule, effective July 1, 2024, updates school meal nutrition standards to bring them in closer alignment with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The rule will institute the first-ever added sugar limits for school meals and update sodium standards, among other changes.

The meal pattern changes will begin to take effect starting in school year 2025-26 and will be phased in through school year 2027-2028. The new rule represents a significant step toward science-backed nutrition standards in US schools.

In the last decade, the nutritional quality of school meals has improved significantly, thanks in large part to a 2012 rule that updated school nutrition standards following passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Between school years 2009-2010 and 2014-2015, school meals increased in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and decreased in saturated fat and sodium.

Despite these marked improvements, school meals still have room for improvement...

Indiana sees record participation in voucher program

Indiana's voucher program was never meant to help "poor kids" in "failing schools." The plan has always been to divert money from public education to line the pockets of religious institutions and entrepreneurs. The fact that this harms public education is not a problem for most, and a feature for some.

From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette**
Participation in Indiana’s school voucher program has nearly doubled in the last three years, with a record 70,095 students – including nearly 10,000 from Allen County – receiving money this academic year to attend private K-12 institutions, according to a new annual report.

The additional 16,833 participants – the largest-ever increase in the Choice Scholarship Program – represented a 31.6% hike from the previous year, the Indiana Department of Education report said.

Participation totaled 35,698 as recently as the 2020-21 year.

This year, students were awarded about $439 million – a 41% increase from last year’s $312 million, the report said.
How much have your county public schools lost to vouchers?

**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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