Monday, August 29, 2011

TEACHER Creativity Grants of $8,000

Greetings from Lilly Endowment……

Once again – for the 25th year – the Endowment is pleased to announce that the Teacher Creativity Fellowship Program will honor and recognize Indiana teachers, principals, assistant principals, guidance counselors and librarians/media specialists.

The Endowment will offer up to 120 fellowships at $8,000 each for these educators to embark on summertime periods of personal renewal. More than 2,300 Indiana educators have participated in this competitive program and returned with tales of adventure, personal discovery, new scholarship and a renewed sense of purpose. For a full program description, go to or

We would appreciate it very much if you could find room in your publication(s) or on your website to place one of these newsletter articles or the ad. If you are unable to use the ad, please feel free to use the information in your newsletter.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

State Takeover for 4 IPS schools

Subject: State Takeover

Superintendent Bennett has announced today that he is recommending the take over of 4 IPS schools and the creation of Lead Partners for two others. Emma Donnan Middle School, Manual,and Howe H.S. will be managed by Charter Schools USA. Arlington Community H.S. will be managed by Education Power. Both Washington Community H.S. and Broad Ripple H.S. will be given a Lead Partner. Bennett's recommendation will be heard and acted upon by the State Board of Education on Monday the 29th. If accepted by the Board, the take over organization's will have one year to observe and plan and then take the schools for the 2012-13 school year.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

ISTA on the JOB

August 20, 2011
Challenge to Indiana's New School
Voucher Program to Move Forward

INDIANAPOLIS - Despite a ruling from a Marion County Superior Court Judge earlier this week denying a request for a Preliminary Injunction of Indiana's new school voucher bill, plaintiffs in the case, supported by the Indiana State Teachers Association and the National Education Association, have reaffirmed their determination to continue to litigate the constitutionality of the Choice Scholarship Program.
ISTA strongly believes in the merits of the plaintiffs' claims and hopes to get a final decision on those merits as quickly as possible.
"This week's ruling was only the very beginning of the litigation in this case," said Teresa Meredith, a Shelbyville teacher and a plaintiff in the case. "It's important to Indiana and its public schools that we continue to pursue this challenge, and we will pursue it before the trial court and higher levels of the court system."
Although the new voucher program is being phased in, and only 2,800 vouchers have been awarded to date, it's clear that the judge didn't address the fact that 97 percent of the schools participating in the program are religious. As a consequence, for all but a handful of parents, the only real option under this voucher program is the option of using a voucher to attend a religious school.
It's clear that Indiana's new school voucher program is in violation of three separate provisions of the Indiana Constitution: the prohibition against the compelled support by taxpayers of any religious ministry, the prohibition against the use of state treasury funds for the benefit of any religious institution and the provision requiring the state to provide a general and uniform system of common schools

Friday, August 12, 2011

Each year on Labor Day FWEA has a booth at Headwaters Park in conjunction with the "We Are One" FREE organized labor day picnic. The picnic starts at 11 am and goes until 4 pm Monday, September 5. This year FWEA will be passing out over 400 books, free cat n hat hats, pencils, book markers etc. The FWEA Executive Board is setting up and tearing down the booth but we need FWEA/FWCS teachers to help pass out the materials throughout the day. If you could volunteer an hour or two of your time on that day please drop down. Bring your family their is plenty to do while you work the booth. There is free chili, hot dogs, ethnic foods, ice cream, pop, beer, milk along with face painting, bingo, balloon artists and kiddie rides. This could also count on your new evaluation as community service in engaging the community with FWCS and FWEA while promoting reading. If you have any children's books you would like to donate bring them along or you can drop them off at the FWEA office prior to the picnic. Thanks in advance for your help.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Judge to Rule on Vouchers Next Week

A Marion County judge is set to rule next week on whether Indiana's new school voucher program passes constitutional muster.
At issue in the request for a temporary injunction before Judge Michael Keele is whether vouchers undermine the Indiana Constitution's mandate the state provide a tuition-free system of common schools open to all and violate the constitutional ban on state support of religious institutions.
Attorney John West, representing a group of Hoosiers challenging the voucher law, said during oral arguments Thursday there's no question the voucher program is unconstitutional on both counts.
"When the constitution tells you that you're to provide for the education of Indiana children through a general uniform system of common schools, it's implicit in that that it can't be done in another way, such as sending them all to private schools with vouchers," West said.
West also emphasized the Indiana Constitution says no person shall be compelled to support any place of worship or ministry and "no money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit or any religious or theological institution."
Defending the law, Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher argued the constitution only prohibits a direct tax to support a church and said the General Assembly is free to spend general tax dollars however it wishes. He also questioned whether church-run schools are religious institutions.
As for a uniform system of common schools, Fisher said so long as the state continues to support public schools there's nothing stopping lawmakers from assisting students who want to attend private schools.
"This sort-of enabling of parents and children to seek private school education is part of the tradition of what we've done in this state for a very long time," Fisher said, noting that more than 30,000 Indiana students enrolled outside their home district or in a charter school last year.
Under the Choice Scholarship Program enacted earlier this year, families meeting certain income requirements can receive a voucher from the state worth, in most cases, up to $4,500, paid directly to state-approved private schools for student tuition.

Excerpts from Indiana Constitution

The interpretation of these three sections of the Indiana Constitution were at the center of oral arguments Thursday concerning the constitutionality of the new school voucher law.
Article 1, Section 4: No preference shall be given, by law, to any creed, religious society, or mode of worship; and no person shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support, any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent.
Article 1, Section 6: No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution.
Article 8, Section 1: Knowledge and learning, generally diffused throughout a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; it shall be the duty of the General Assembly to encourage, by all suitable means, moral, intellectual, scientific, and agricultural improvement; and to provide, by law, for a general and uniform system of Common Schools, wherein tuition shall be without charge, and equally open to all.