Indiana’s got a problem: Too many teachers don’t want to work there anymore

The Washington Post By Valerie Strauss 8/13/15 Indiana’s got a problem: Teachers increasingly don’t want to work in the state anymore. The problem has become so acute that some school districts have have had a hard time finding enough teachers … Continue reading

Mayors to Washington: Do Something!

Mayors to Washington: Do Something!
Education, infrastructure top mayors’ wish list, POLITICO Magazine survey finds.
By Eva Rodriguez

The cities’ CEOs are disgusted with Capitol Hill. Sure, we’ve known the American people have little regard for Congress, which has been experiencing record-low approval ratings. Yet fellow elected officials working in America’s cities also hold Washington in disfavor, and they had a clear message for their representatives on Capitol Hill: Gridlock has gone too far.

Some 82 percent of mayors queried said they had very little or no confidence in Washington lawmakers to address the nation’s most pressing problem, according to Politico Magazine’s inaugural Mayors’ Survey. What did mayors find most grating? Was it lawmakers’ almost genetically-encoded aversion to solving important challenges? Their tendency to grandstand? Their inability to resist kowtowing to powerful special interests? All of the above, nearly half of the respondents reported.

“We must do what we can on our own, locally and regionally,” said…
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“The Three Branches and You” – Student produced documentaries on public policy issues in their communities

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2015) – ​C-SPAN today announced the winners of the national 2015 StudentCam documentary competition. 150 student and 53 teacher prizes, totaling $100,000 in cash prizes, will be awarded for winning documentaries. Each year since 2006, C-SPAN has invited middle school students (grades 6-8) and high school students (grades 9-12) to produce short documentaries [5-7 minutes] on an issue of national importance. This year, students used video cameras to answer the question, ​“The Three Branches and You: tell a story that demonstrates how a policy, law, or action by either the executive, legislative, or judicial branch has affected you or your community.” In response, C-SPAN received 2,280 video submissions from almost 5,000 students in 45 states and Washington. Students worked in teams or as individuals to address a wide range of public policy issues, from education to healthcare to minimum wage and immigration.

[A few of the 150 documentaries with video are: “The Artificial Wage,” “School Lunches: Healthier Hunger-Free Kids,” “Dam it, Tulsa! Fix the River,” “Housing the Future,” “Guns in America” and “Same Sex Marriage.” For more details and links to all 150 videos…]
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THIRD HOUSE: Rep. Culver says ‘world would be a better place,’ without Indiana State Teachers Association By JULIE CROTHERS 2/21/15 GOSHEN — As tensions rose surrounding the topic of Indiana’s embattled education system, state Rep. Wes Culver on Saturday took a shot at the Indiana State Teachers Association. “The world would be a better place … Continue reading

President’s 2016 Budget in Pictures

National Priorities Project
By Jasmine Tucker

President Obama recently released his fiscal year 2016 budget proposal. Budgets are about our nation’s priorities: What are we going to spend money on? How are we going to raise the money we want to spend?

Though the budget ultimately enacted by Congress may look very different from the budget request released by the president, the president’s budget is important. It’s the president’s vision for the country in fiscal year 2016 and beyond, and it reflects input and spending requests from every federal agency.

These pictures tell the story of the priorities found in the president’s budget.

President’s Proposed 2016 Budget: Total Spending

This chart shows how President Obama proposed allocating $4.1 trillion* in total federal spending in fiscal year 2016, an increase of more than 5 percent over the total 2015 spending level. This includes every type of federal spending, from funding for discretionary programs like infrastructure improvements and job training to mandatory spending programs like Social Security and Medicare, as well as interest payments on the federal debt. Social Security and labor, Medicare and health programs, and military spending will make up 76 percent of the total budget, leaving just 24 percent, or $957 billion of the $4.1 trillion total, to spend on all other programs.

* Spending on Government (administration) is less than zero and omitted in the total spending pie chart. Lower than zero spending can occur when segments of government have surpluses from previous years that they return to the federal government.

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No profit left behind: In the high-stakes world of American education, Pearson makes money even when its results don’t measure up

“Ever since a federal commission published “A Nation at Risk” in 1983 — warning that public education was being eroded by “a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a nation and a people” — American schools have been enveloped in a sense of crisis. Politicians have raced to tout one fix after the next: new tests, new standards, new classroom technology, new partnerships with the private sector.”

By Stephanie Simon

The British publishing giant Pearson had made few inroads in the United States — aside from distributing the TV game show “Family Feud” — when it announced plans in the summer of 2000 to spend $2.5 billion on an American testing company.

It turned out to be an exceptionally savvy move.

The next year, Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandated millions of new standardized tests for millions of kids in public schools. Pearson was in a prime position to capitalize.

From that perch, the company expanded rapidly, seizing on many subsequent reform trends, from online learning to the Common Core standards adopted in more than 40 states. The company has reaped the benefits: Half its $8 billion in annual global sales comes from its North American education division.

But Pearson’s dominance does not always serve U.S. students or taxpayers well…
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Rep. Harman and Sen. Head focus on education, small school grant, retired teachers, ISTEP and annexation during Third House

Harmon, Head talk education BY WESLEY DEHNE Staff Writer, The Rochester Sentinel 2/9/15 State Rep. Tim Harmon [sic], R-Bremen, and State Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, presented their legislative updates to a record crowd Saturday. Approximately 70-80 people attended the first of three legislative … Continue reading

“…this has been at heart a high-stakes series of contentious policy debates for the past two years about the future of public education in Indiana.”

(The following is testimony given by Vic Smith, a retired educator, at the Indiana Senate Rules & Legislative Procedure Committee yesterday. The entire hearing was livestreamed and Dr. Smith’s comments begin at 1:32:41.) Vic’s Statehouse Notes #199 – February 3, … Continue reading

Commentary: Power, money and education reform

By John Krull 1/26/15 INDIANAPOLIS – Long ago, Lord Acton famously said, “Power tends to corrupt.” The same can be true of money. One of the many tragedies accompanying the destructive debate over education “reform” in Indiana is the … Continue reading