Monday, July 1, 2024

In Case You Missed It – July 1, 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.

Be sure to enter your email address in the Follow Us By Email box in the right-hand column of our blog page to be informed when our blog posts are published.

"Imagine there is no public schooling and a candidate in 2024 runs on a great new idea: “Let’s provide universal free K-12 for all students and tax ourselves to pay for it!” What was established 150 years ago would seem outrageous today, especially in an environment strongly influenced by wealthy donors who want to do away with public programs. We take for granted the fact that in all of our communities, we have tuition-free schools that welcome all of our children—it’s a natural feature of the landscape. The system isn’t perfect and often disappoints us. But we need to remember that the core features of this system—that it is publicly governed, taxpayer-supported, open access, and used to advance the common good—are actually pretty remarkable. Moreover, our public education system has made our country far more equal than it was in the past. If we dismantle public education, it would be difficult if not impossible to bring it back." -- from NEA Today, What do Book Bans and Vouchers Have in Common?


What do Book Bans and Vouchers Have in Common?

A new book from the Have You Heard podcasters...coming on July 2.

From NEA Today
In their latest book The Education Wars, journalist Jennifer Berkshire and education scholar Jack Schneider explain the sudden obsession with race and gender in schools and the ascendancy of book bans. It offers analysis of school vouchers and the impact they’ll have on school finances and explores the movement for “parents’ rights,” explaining the rights that students and taxpayers also have.

NEA Today spoke to Berkshire and Schneider about the new book and some of the alarming findings. We also asked about the path forward...

...Can a family with an LGBTQ+ student attend private school with a voucher? What about students with disabilities?...

JB and JS: LGBTQ+ students would be embraced by a Quaker school, but those are a small percentage of the faith-based schools that dominate the private sector. Most LGBTQ+ students would face resistance at a religious private school or, worse, intolerance and exclusion. So vouchers may offer options, but they don’t protect students’ rights. They can deny admission and equal treatment based on their “religious freedom.”

Students with disabilities will face similar obstacles. We recently did a podcast on threats to special education in a voucher system. A mother of a student with disabilities from Tennessee read 20 different rejection letters she got from 20 different schools. In a privatized system, a school can say “no, we don’t have the facilities or the personnel to accommodate your child.” And there will be no incentive to do so. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which turns 50 next year, would not apply as it does in our public school system. Again, vouchers provide some options, but no rights, which leaves a large population with no options.


The Comprehension Problem with New Reading Programs: Ignoring the Books Children LIKE to Read!

The Science of Reading leaves out one essential aspect...the joy of reading.

From Nancy Bailey's Education Website
I’m not a gambler, but if I were, I’d bet that a lot of parents whose elementary school-age children are getting explicit phonics instruction, memorizing rules, and who can define words like diphthong and schwa will be disappointed when their children get to high school and couldn’t care less about reading.

New reading programs promising the Science of Reading don’t cover what children need to become good readers. What’s missing are reading comprehension and the incentive to read because it’s fun and interesting.

When critics of public schools and teachers debate how to teach reading comprehension today, they chatter about knowledge building (of course, previous knowledge is important) and raise questions like, should you teach a child about the main idea? (of course, you should), as if teachers haven’t taught children to read (and write) in the past.

The difference is that, today, they often ignore the main star: books children like to read.


New Indiana virtual charter school report shows $60M in funding for 2022-23

The annual report also gives other data on class sizes and teacher-student ratios across the state’s seven virtual charters.

From the Indiana Capital Chronicle
More than $60 million in state tuition funding went to Indiana’s virtual schools during the 2022-23 academic year, according to a new report.

In all, those dollars covered roughly 8,500 students — a majority of those attending a handful of virtual charter schools operating in the state.

Each year, virtual charter schools are required by law to submit data to the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) with the number of student-teacher meetings conducted in-person or via video conference, classroom size, the ratio of teachers per class, as well as state funding totals.

The newest numbers were submitted to the Indiana State Budget Committee last week.


New Hampshire: Why the GOP Is Determined to Destroy Public Schools

This is an important article for everyone to read, no matter where you live. It explains succinctly the true goals of the privatization movement.

From Diane Ravitch
A responsible citizen is an informed citizen, and that appears to be the problem today. Too many people interested in power instead of governing don’t want a truly informed public. Instead, they want enough of the public spoon fed “alternative facts,” conspiracy theories, and outright lies to ensure they retain power although they have views that are both harmful to the majority of citizens and allow the tyranny of the minority to overturn the will of the majority.

At the heart of the minority’s transformation plan is the destruction of the public school system.

Indiana’s attempt to take shortcuts on education is costing us.

It’s time for the State to stop trying to privatize schools and start investing in our public school system.

From Masson's Blog: A Citizen's Guide to Indiana
Ball State economist, Michael Hicks, has a column about Democratic run areas of the country getting richer while Republican run areas are getting poorer. He notes that the U.S. is seeing its best economic performance in the last half century but the benefits are not being distributed uniformly. He doesn’t lay the blame on one party or another because some of the underlying reasons were a long time in the making. But he does underscore the significance of educational attainment in the dynamic.
It is difficult to lay the blame for worsening economic conditions at the feet of one party or the other. For the past 50 years, there was considerable overlap in state policies, so conservative Democratic states behaved a lot like more progressive Republican states in tax, education and economic development policy.

...The 15 states that have seen the biggest relative drop in educational attainment are all solidly Republican states—and poor. Indiana ranks 10th on this list...

FWCS board unanimously approves $55M loan for Snider stadium

At Monday’s meeting, the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board welcomed a new member and approved financing of the upcoming Snider football stadium.

The FWCS Board unanimously approved the financing of the new Snider Stadium alongside other improvements in the district. The cost will come as a loan of $55,650,000 from general obligation bonds and building corporation property tax first mortgage bonds.

FWCS Board President Maria Norman assures that the project will not raise property taxes.

Snider’s new 4,000-seat stadium will utilize a large portion of the loan. The remaining money will be used to update athletic equipment, scoreboards, and other FWCS facilities such as restrooms and offices.

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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