Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick is calling on the state legislature to protect public schools from funding cuts and to protect students and school staff from discrimination.
Her proposals come in a 24-page document targeted to the Indiana General Assembly, which will begin its 2021 session in January. McCormick, Indiana’s last elected state superintendent, will leave office at the end of this year – unless Dr. Woody Myers pulls an upset in the governor’s race and reappoints her.
“I leave this document to outline the critical policy actions that must be taken, regardless of who fills the seat of Indiana’s top education leader,” McCormick writes. “Our students deserve it, educators demand it, and our communities need it to ensure Indiana’s future success.”
McCormick also urges the legislature to move Indiana to a single system of school accountability, expand internet connectivity for students and take steps to level the regulatory playing field between traditional public schools and charter and private schools. It’s a gutsy agenda, especially considering that McCormick often has crossed swords with Republicans who control the Statehouse and has recently distanced herself from them by endorsing Myers and other Democrats.
In the document, titled EducationFIRST, McCormick notes that the pandemic-caused recession has greatly reduced state tax revenue, which means legislators will be under pressure to cut spending. She says the state should “at a minimum” maintain its current level of support for schools, and it should do its best to protect funding for summer school, textbooks for low-income families and other services.
She proposes a two-year moratorium on opening new charter schools and adding more private schools to Indiana’s voucher system. Continuing to add more state-funded charter and voucher schools, she argues, would mean existing schools will get a smaller and smaller share of the funding pie.
And she would roll back state facilities grants for charter schools from $750 to $500 per pupil, the level where they were two years ago. The grants are intended to help charter schools pay for buildings and some operating costs; unlike public schools, charter schools can’t levy property taxes for those needs.
Probably the boldest parts of her agenda deal with inclusivity and protections for LGBTQ students and staff. This is a legislature, after all, that didn’t adopt a hate-crimes law until 2019 and then refused to say explicitly that gay and transgender Hoosiers were protected.
McCormick points out that one-fourth of Hoosier high school students report feeling unsafe at school, LGBTQ youth are at high risk of being threatened and attacked, and Black students are four times as likely to receive out-of-school suspensions as their white classmates. Her policy proposals would expand anti-discrimination protections for charter schools and voucher-accepting private schools to include gender identity, sexual orientation and marital status.
“Indiana legislators must be committed to creating laws that provide a safe learning and work environment where all members of the school community are treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or marital status,” she writes.
The Republican leadership in the Indiana House and Senate may not welcome McCormick’s policy proposals, but legislators should push to have them considered.
DETAILS AND MEANING!!!
CODE 1.5—To create and maintain safe and healthy settings that foster children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development and that respect their dignity and their contributions.
This is important to me because as an educator, it is my job to help to protect children in the education field and homes. My aim is to provide a safe and secure environment for children to be able to grow into their best and be the best in all that they do. I believe that every child is unique in their own way and has different ability within them. They tend to seek attentive caring from those around them they love and can provide a secure place for them. My goal is to be able to meet the developmental needs of the early childhood children in the best ways that I can, for them to have a great learning experience.
CODE 2.9—To participate in building support networks for families by providing them with opportunities to interact with program staff, other families, community resources, and professional services.
This Code speaks to me because it is building valuable relationships with children and their families, setting them up for good success. Having this kind of support with the families and children displays the strength in a child’s emotion to have that sense of feeling loved and cared for. With my few experiences, I will be able to share with children, their families and other professionals in the early childhood field all that I have learned thus far, providing and giving access to appropriate resources.
CODE 4.8—To further the professional development of the field of early childhood care and education and to strengthen its commitment to realizing its core values as reflected in this Code.
This is important to me because it is applying the knowledge I currently have towards my future career. Having a background in education along with the experiences I gained, I feel it is valuable and necessary to help to guide children in their rightful paths. I also feel that my knowledge towards the early childhood education field has to be implemented in the child developmental stages, making sure that I am following all the necessary percussions to get to where I need to be in the field.
NAEYC. (2005, April). Code of ethical conduct and statement of commitment. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PSETH05.pdf
A political action committee chaired by a former Democratic mayor of Indianapolis is one of the top contributors to the Indiana House Republican Campaign Committee.
The PAC, Hoosiers for Great Public Schools, was created in April and is chaired by Bart Peterson. He was mayor of Indianapolis from 1999 to 2007 and is now president and CEO of Christel House International, a nonprofit that operates three charter schools in Indianapolis. The PAC’s treasurer is Caryl Auslander, former vice president of education for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
The PAC has contributed $150,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee and another $50,000 to the campaign of Republican House Speaker Todd Huston, according to campaign finance reports. That’s more than almost any other donor with a couple of exceptions.
It has also given $20,000 to the Indiana Senate Republican campaign committee and $17,000 to Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s political action committee. It gave $200,000 to RISE Indy, a PAC that supports Indianapolis school board candidates who favor charter-like “innovation” schools.
While the group calls itself Hoosiers for Great Public Schools, none of the $400,000 that it reported raising came from Hoosiers. It received $200,000 each from two wealthy supporters of charter schools: John Arnold, a former gas trader and hedge fund manager from Texas, and Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, from California.
Why is Hoosiers for Great Public Schools backing Republicans? Peterson said the issue is charter schools.
“I am an unabashed supporter of charter schools and have been since my first campaign for mayor,” he told me in a text-message statement. “Charter schools are underfunded, and the funding gap between public charter schools and traditional district schools is getting much worse.”
Peterson said he is involved in efforts to support candidates who “support equitable funding for charter schools” regardless of political party. He didn’t elaborate, but he is on the board of RISE Indy, which gave $40,000 last year and $8,000 this year to the campaign of current Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat.
Charter schools had bipartisan support when Indiana first established them in 2002. But in the past decade, Republicans have aggressively expanded school choice, adding a private-school voucher program, while many Democrats have grown skeptical. Peterson has stayed on board with the strategy. As mayor, he set up a robust system for authorizing and overseeing charter schools in the city. He helped found The Mind Trust, which supports charter schools and encouraged Indianapolis Public Schools to partner with charter and innovation schools.
It’s widely understood in Indiana that donating to campaigns can help ensure access, so it makes sense to curry favor with Republicans. House Republicans have a 67-33 advantage over Democrats, and the GOP is all but certain to keep control of the House, Senate and governor’s office.
For Peterson, the contributions also carry on a legacy from Christel House founder Christel DeHaan, who died in June. DeHaan donated generously to Indiana political campaigns, mostly but not entirely to Republicans. Her last contribution was $60,000 in June to the House Republican Campaign Committee.
Here’s a topic that hasn’t come up but probably should in the debates over Amy Coney Barrett’s likely tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court: public funding of private schools that discriminate.
Barrett served from 2015-17 on the board of Trinity School at Greenlawn, a South Bend Catholic school, the New York Times reported. Trinity had a policy during Barrett’s time on the board that effectively prohibited same-sex couples from enrolling their children in the school, according to the Times.
That would seem to cast doubt on Barrett’s claim in her confirmation hearing that she had “never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference” and would not do so. It also raises policy questions about whether publicly funded institutions should practice discrimination.
In the two years that Barrett was on the Trinity board, the school received over a half million dollars in Indiana voucher program funding. Since the start of the state’s voucher program, Trinity School at Greenlawn has received nearly $2 million in state support for student tuition.
Indiana established its school voucher program in 2011, providing state funding to help families pay tuition at private schools, most of which are religious schools. Students qualify for the program by family income and other factors.
Trinity School at Greenlawn enrolls about 250 students in grades 6-12; 85 received vouchers last year.
It’s not clear whether the school still has a policy that would keep out the children of same-sex couples. The school’s handbook says Trinity considers marriage to be “a legal and committed relationship between a man and a woman.” It says that sex outside of marriage, whether straight or gay, is “not in keeping with God’s plan for human sexuality.”
But the handbook also says, “We do not require parents to subscribe to this position.” Unlike some Christian voucher schools, it doesn’t require students and parents to sign a statement of faith.
Indiana private schools that receive voucher funding may not discriminate by race, color or national origin but they may discriminate by religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability, and they may turn away students for academic reasons or simply because they aren’t a good “fit.”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court seems to have abandoned the once mainstream idea that public funding for religious schools violates the constitutional separation of church and state. Instead, the ground has shifted to whether laws that regulate voucher programs are infringing on religious freedom.
In June, the court ruled that Montana couldn’t legally exclude religious schools from a private-school voucher program. An upcoming case challenges whether Maryland can exclude schools that discriminate from receiving vouchers. And some voucher supporters have come close to arguing that parents have a legal right to state funding for their children’s private schools.
These are tough questions that may soon reach a Supreme Court that will include Amy Coney Barrett, former board member of a voucher-receiving school that discriminated.
Helping Children Reach Their Full Potential
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Because nothing matters more than a child’s early years, Erikson Institute educates, inspires, promotes leadership to serve the needs of children and families, so that all can achieve optimal educational, social, emotional, and physical well-being.
Since Erikson Institute’s founding in 1966, the people, knowledge, and programs have made an indelible imprint on the journey to learn more about the early years.
Our founders recognized the need for professionals, who work with young children and families to understand a child’s development and the promise. The first years of a child’s life, holds for a person’s long term well being.
Their vision has been the foundation of our work across multiple decades. Through significant social and cultural changes, it remains the foundation of our effort to become the single most influential force for change in the Early Childhood field today.
Location: Erikson Institute
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Erikson Institute is a world class organization, renowned for our pioneering work, leadership, and expertise in the fields of child development, social work, and early childhood education. Our experts are all dedicated to a common goal, which is improving the lives of young children and their families.
- Purpose : To ensure the sources of new users. It is bringing users deeper into the web. It is also design for users to learn its functions and how it is used or what it Is used for.
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NAEYC. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/dap
NAEYC. (2009). Where we stand on child abuse prevention. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/ChildAbuseStand.pdf
NAEYC (2009). Where we stand on school readiness. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/Readiness.pdf
NAEYC (2009). Where we stand on responding to linguistic and cultural diversity. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/diversity.pdf
NAEYC. (2003). Early childhood curriculum, assessment, and program evaluation: Building an effective, accountable system in programs for children birth through age 8. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/pscape.pdf
NAEYC. (2009, April), Early childhood inclusion: A summary. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/DEC_NAEYC_ECSummary_A.pdf
Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families. (2010). Infant-toddler policy agenda. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://main.zerotothree.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ter_pub_infanttodller
FPG Child Development Institute. (2006, September). Evidence-based practice empowers early childhood professionals and families. (FPG Snapshot, No. 33). Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://community.fpg.unc.edu/sites/community.fpg.unc.edu/files/imce/documents/FPG_Snapshot_N33_EvidenceBasedPractice)09-2006.pdf
NAEYC. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/dap
Turnbull, A., Zuna, N., Hong, J.Y., Hu, X., Kyzar, K., Obremski, S., et al. (2010). Knowledge-to-action guides. Teaching Exceptional Children, 42(3), 42-53.
UNICEF (n.d.). Fact sheet: A summary of the rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.unicef.org/crc/files/Rights_overview.pdf
World Forum Foundation https://worldforumfoundation.org/about-us
Association for Childhood Education International http://acei.org/
National Association for the Education of Young Children http://www.naeyc.org/
The Division for Early Childhood http://www.dec-sped.org/
Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families http://www.zerotothree.org/
Harvard Education Letter http://www.hepg.org/hel/topic/85
FPG Child Development Institute http://www.fpg.unc.edu/
Administration for Children and Families Headstart’s National Research Conference http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hsrc/
Children’s Defense Funds http://childrensdefense.org/
Council for Exceptional Children http://www.cec.sped.org/
Institute for Women’s Policy Research http://www.iwpr.org/
National Child Care Association http://www.nccanet.org/
National Institute for Early Education Research http://nieer.org
The Erikson Institute http://www.erikson.edu/
Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). The resources for early childhood. Baltimore: Author.
Book: Sylva, K. (2010). Early childhood matters. [electronic resource] : evidence from the effective pre-school and primary education project. Routledge
Article: Fitzpatrick, C., Oghia, M. J., Melki, J., & Pagani, L. S. (2016). Early Childhood Exposure to Media Violence: What Parents and Policymakers Ought to Know. South African Journal of Childhood Education, 6(1).
Journal: Mudrick, H. B., Robinson, J. L., & Brophy-Herb, H. E. (2020). Low-income children’s readiness for group-based learning at age 3 and prekindergarten outcomes at age 5. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 18(3), 259–274.
Oscar Robertson should have been on top of the world. He had just led Indianapolis Crispus Attucks to the 1955 Indiana high school basketball championship, the highest achievement imaginable in the basketball-crazed state. The city had enthusiastically supported the all-Black team.
But instead of the traditional champions parade through downtown Indianapolis, the team and its fans were routed to a park in a Black neighborhood for a celebration. Robertson, insulted by the slight, left early for his father’s house.
“Dad,” he said, “they just don’t want us.”
The anecdote, from Robertson’s autobiography, concludes Richard B. Pierce’s “Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis, 1920-1970.” Published in 2005 by Indiana University Press, the book offers plentiful evidence that Robertson was right.
Its thesis is that Black people took a different path in Indianapolis than other Northern cities in seeking racial progress in education, housing and jobs. They largely rejected demonstrations and vocal advocacy for the “polite” tactics of coalition-building, petitions, lobbying and litigation. Thwarted by the city’s white power structure, Black citizens “met with interminable delays and ineffectual remedies,” according to Pierce, a history professor at the University of Notre Dame.
In education, Crispus Attucks High School was Exhibit A. Opened in 1927, it didn’t admit its first white students until 1967 – 18 years after the Indiana legislature outlawed racial segregation in schools.
“Indianapolis fought school desegregation with a ferocity rarely matched by any other northern city,” Pierce writes.
In the early 1900s the city’s elementary schools may have been segregated by neighborhood, but Black students attended high school with white students. That changed in the 1920s, a time of increasing racism and nativism nationally and the dominance of the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana. The school board voted to open Attucks as a separate high school for Black students. African American leaders pushed for integrated schools, but school boards resisted time after time.
There was an opening for integration in 1946, when a fire destroyed a Black elementary school. The students could have been moved to three nearby white schools, where there was room and principals welcomed them. Instead, they were sent to a Black school 10 miles away, far from their homes.
Around the same time, Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund were in regular contact with Indianapolis Black leaders while looking for cases to challenge the constitutionality of segregated schools. But local leaders opted instead to lobby state government, where Democrats had gained new influence. In 1949, the legislature voted to outlaw segregation in public schools.
But as the South’s response to Brown v. Board of Education made clear a few years later, outlawing segregation wouldn’t make it go away. Indianapolis school officials first delayed, then phased in integration. School assignments may not have been based on race, but gerrymandered attendance districts and a policy of “neighborhood schools” kept Black and white students apart.
Pierce summarizes what happened after the U.S. Justice Department finally sued Indianapolis Public Schools to force integration in the 1960s. In legal actions that dragged on for years, U.S. District Judge S. Hugh Dillin ruled the city had deliberately maintained segregated schools and ordered them to integrate. Black students were bused to mostly white township and suburban Marion County schools.
Also key event in the history is the creation of Unigov, the 1970 merger of Indianapolis and Marion County governments. Birthed behind closed doors by white business and civic leaders, Unigov effectively checked the voting power of African Americans. It consolidated civil government but left schools untouched, with the result that Indianapolis today has 11 school districts.
It’s odd to think that 50 years have passed since Unigov was adopted, more time than elapsed between the Klan years and Unigov. And times have changed. Today, only three Marion County school districts are majority white. Black, Hispanic and Asian students make up a majority in the other eight.
A history of the political economy of race in Indianapolis from 1970 to 2020 would also tell an important story. Regarding schools, it would need to address white flight to the surrounding counties, middle-class abandonment of public schools and the complex racial politics of school choice policies.
“Polite Protest,” meanwhile, is essential reading for understanding Indianapolis. It’s a reminder that progress doesn’t just happen but that it takes protest, polite or otherwise, to achieve any kind of justice.