Indiana moves closer to making the state superintendent an appointed position.

By Charles Edward (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Charles Edward (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andrew Pillow

The state of Indiana currently has an elected superintendent position. A bill that just passed the full senate would change that.

House Bill 1005 would essentially change the state superintendent job from an elected to appointed position. The language of the bill technically specifies that the elected state superintendent position would be abolished, then immediately replaced by the governor appointed “secretary of education” position.

Governor Eric Holcomb praised the senate’s decision on twitter:

This change has been a goal of republicans since Holcomb took office. Many have theorized that this is directly a result of the much publicized strained relationship between former governor Mike Pence and former state superintendent Glenda Ritz.

See the bill here. (iga.in.gov)

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Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

Weekend Links (4/8/2017)

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Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

Noble Network of Charter Schools teachers move toward forming a union

By Andrew Pillow

Charter school teachers typically do not belong to unions. However, some teachers in one of the nation’s largest charter school networks are seeking to change that.

Union of Noble Educators teachers announced in an open letter their intention to unionize. The letter outlines the groups desire for teachers to have more say in their jobs and the education of their students:

"We are passionate, committed, professional teachers and staff with diverse experiences in the Noble Network of Charter Schools. We believe in racial, gender, and economic justice. We see our students every day and know they are better served by a lasting staff that can advocate for their schools. To this end, we seek a voice at Noble and beyond.
We want a voice in decisions, stability in our schools and, most importantly, the best possible future for our students. Under current local and national conditions, educators labor to remain in their classrooms while our value is diminished, our capacity drained, and our power constrained. Both students and educators struggle to thrive in climates that prioritize test scores and compliance over creativity and personhood. Our students’ learning conditions are our working conditions. When educators have the real collective power to affect both, we can fulfill our schools’ obligations to all students, their families, and our city. Therefore, we are forming a union to ensure our voice plays an integral role in the success of our students.
We call on our colleagues across our network’s 17 campuses to join with us, the Union of Noble Educators, to build our collective strength.
In order to be able to speak openly, we ask Michael Milkie, the Noble Board of Directors, and Noble Principals to agree to a fair process free of interference as we organize. If educators are trusted, then we must be trusted to have a collective voice.
We look forward to the work ahead to create more sustainable and more just schools for students and communities.
The Union of Noble Educators"

The Charter School network educates about 12,000 students on 17 different campuses and has about 800 teachers and staff. This would make Noble the nation’s largest unionized charter school network.

The move was praised by other union leaders but Noble superintendent, Michael Milkie warned that a union could limit the “flexibility” of the schools.

"In my experience as a former CPS teacher, I believe a restrictive union contract could eliminate the curriculum and flexibility we have to best serve our students' needs." Said Milkie

Read more about the unionizing effort here. (Union of Noble Educators)

Comment

Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

Chicago’s mayor wants to make college and job acceptance letters a graduation requirement

By Office of United States Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D - Illinois) (http://www.house.gov/emanuel/photo_durbin1.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Office of United States Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D - Illinois) (http://www.house.gov/emanuel/photo_durbin1.htm) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andrew Pillow

Schools often talk about how important it is for students to have a plan after graduation. Rather that be college, or some other form of employment. Typically, this is where guidance counselors come into play. However, Chicago Public Schools may go a little bit further by requiring students to have proof of a plan before they graduate.

Chicago mayor, Rahm Emanuel is leading the charge for the post high school plan as a graduation requirement.

The plan works like this: All Chicago Public School students would have to show an acceptance letter to receive their high school diploma.

The acceptance letter can be to any of the following:

  • Four-year university
  • Community college
  • Job Training program
  • Trade school
  • Apprenticeship
  • Internship
  • Branch of the Armed Forces

Mayor Emanuel says he doesn’t want students to view high school graduation as their final goal and that the plan is simply keeping up with the real world.

“The workplace today has that requirement. All we’re doing, as a school system, is catching up to the requirements of the workplace,” Said Emanuel

It is worth noting that all CPS students qualify for free tuition at City Colleges via an existing partnership and low income students get their application fees waived. Additionally, 60% of CPS students already have a plan prior to graduation according to CPS.

Read more about the plan on the city’s official website here.

Comment

Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

WATCH: Shut Up! And Let Me Teach - Ending the Assault on Teacher Autonomy

By Andrew Pillow

These days teachers are being asked to do more and more because of federal and local regulations. Teaching veteran Chandra Shaw is fed up with it. Shaw talks about how she feels the government is getting in the way of teaching in her Ted Talk, Shut Up! And Let Me Teach: Ending the Assault on Teacher Autonomy. 

Watch it below. 

Comment

Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

Senate approves a stripped down version of the House Pre-K bill.

By Charles Edward (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Charles Edward (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andrew Pillow

A House bill that aims to expand the state’s pre-k program was just approved in the senate. However, the approved bill barely resembles the one that arrived on the senate floor.

House Bill 1004 was approved 38-11 but the amended version lacks a significant amount of funding that the previous version had. Republican legislators cut the proposed increase for the On My Way Pre-K program from $20 million down to $6 million. 

According to WFYI, the main issue that many conservatives had with the bill was the cost of the proposed program. Senators frequently cited that they didn’t want to “double the funding for the state’s preschool pilot program.”

Proponents of the bill are not happy with the new version and many have already voiced their displeasure. Sen. Karen Tallian (D) for example, voted no because in her opinion the bill does not go nearly far enough.

The battle over the bill will also likely include debates about vouchers as the senate also allocated money for vouchers within the program amendment.

The senate has expressed interest in expanding the On My Way Pre-K program to all 92 counties, however advocates asked for a $50 million increase to make the program truly “universal”.

Read more here. (WFYI)

See the bill here.

Comment

Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

Whose Responsibility Is It?

If I drive for 15 minutes from my house, I will drive right by a few schools rated A or B, but if I drive for 15 minutes from my house in the opposite direction, I will drive by schools rated D or F. What many D and F schools have in common is they serve a high population of minority students and/or a high population of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch.  Regardless of political party affiliation, no one wants a child to attend a failing school.  What we continue to debate about is who is responsible for ensuring all students, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, has access and are able to attend excellent schools.

Under President Obama, rules were included in the Every Student Succeeds Act to hold schools accountable for its students’ academic performance.  Earlier this week, President Trump removed those rules. He also removed requirements for programs that train K-12 educators. Democrats have been vocal about why they disagree with the President’s decision and fear without these federal regulations in place that failing schools, many who serve minorities and students who qualify for free and reduced lunch, will continue to perform poorly.

During his campaign for President, President Trump made it clear that he was going to undo any legislation passed by President Obama that he felt was unnecessary.  He stated this several times; we knew this was coming.  Instead of burning energy arguing and complaining, we need to focus on what we can control and work on alternate solutions.  If the only way schools can be held accountable for their outcomes is through federal regulation, then we have a bigger problem.  Instead of going straight to the top, we need begin our efforts from our locus of control. Educators, parents, and community members need to get involved in local government and involved in their local schools.  Even if you do not have children or do not have children in school any longer, you still need to be involved.   

National Equity Atlas, a data and policy tool to ensure equity, states “These “high-poverty schools” are charged with educating children who need more supports and services, yet are given inadequate funding, leading to a growing population of young people of color who are under-prepared to succeed in the workforce.”  Children who do not receive a good education are more likely to become adults who are not model citizens -- adults who are more likely to commit crimes, end up in jail, struggle with mental health, and have children who follow the same path.  Yes, we need schools to be held accountable, but we also need to help them.  Regulations, be it federal or local, forces school to do what is in their power to meet the requirements, but regulations alone will not solve the problems of failing schools.  If it had, we would not be in the situation we are in now.

Yes, it is a blow to have legislation passed under one administration undone by the next, but isn’t it time to stop arguing and start working towards our common goal?  In Difficult Conversations:  How to Discuss What Matter Most, the authors share, “If you find yourself being swallowed up by a conflict, if you begin to see your very identity as tied to the fight, try to take a step back and remember why you are fighting.” While we are arguing over regulations, we are failing to acknowledge what we can do.  If schools in our community are failing, that’s on us.  

President Trump, as shown by his pick of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary, wants to lessen the role of the federal government in schools. We still have local government.  We still have organizations who want to help all students succeed.  If we don’t take responsibility now, if we can’t stop getting lost in debate and don’t make a plan for helping our schools as the federal grip loosens, we will be responsible for dealing with the outcomes of students from underperforming schools for years to come.








 

Weekend Links (4/1/2017)

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Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

Good Read: Why families choose school vouchers (Indy Star)

By Andrew Pillow

Indiana is experiencing an explosion in school choice initiatives. One such initiative is school vouchers. The Indy Star is running a four-part series on the school voucher program.  The second installment of which deals with the decision making process that parents and students go through when deciding to take advantage of the program.

Stephanie Wang and Chelsea Schneider of the Indy Star use the story of Zaya as an example of families opting to use the voucher system.

“When Zaya starting having troubles at Speedway, a top-rated school district, she and her mother first thought of switching to a charter school well-known for rigorous college prep and strict discipline, but they grew frustrated with the enrollment process.
At Providence Cristo Rey, a private Catholic school on Indianapolis' near west side, the Lumumbas heard that all of the students graduate with college acceptance letters. And what impressed them the most was the corporate work study program, where Zaya could intern at some of the city's largest and most prestigious companies while still in high school.
"Wow," Zakiya thought. "This school really stands out."
They soon learned that Providence Cristo Rey was within their reach. The school is specially geared toward students of economic need. The amount of money the state pays through the voucher program varies based on the school district and a family's income level, and for a low-income family can amount to several thousand dollars. Students' work study pays for $4,000. Institutional financial aid and scholarships chip away at the price, too. On average, the school said each family contributes $300 to tuition each year.
That helped make private school a more reasonable option for Zakiya, a working single mother.”

Zaya’s story is becoming more and more common. Current Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos and President Trump have already stated that they wish to increase voucher usage.

Read more about Zaya and Indianapolis’s voucher program here. (via: Indy Star)

Comment

Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.

WATCH: JFK on Education at Vanderbilt University, 1963

By Andrew Pillow

America is experiencing a rebirth of Anti-Intellectualism. At times like these it is good to have a reminder of the importance of education. Listen to this blast from the past from JFK assisted with animations via Social Good Now

 

Comment

Andrew Pillow

Andrew is a technology teacher at KIPP Indy College Prep. He is graduate of the University of Kentucky and a Teach for America Alum. Andrew just recently finished his commitment as a Teach Plus Policy fellow, and he is looking forward to putting the skills he's learned to good use. Andrew has written for several publications in the past on a wide variety of topics but will be sticking to education for his role on Indy/Ed.