Gov.-elect Mike Pence and Republican state representatives would love for us to believe that the sound defeat of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett had nothing to do with his policies. What? That, of course, is all it had to do with.
Mr. Bennett was not beholden to any other policies besides those that affect education. A vote for Glenda Ritz was a vote against the aggressive, far-reaching and, I might add, destructive policies to public education. To simply dismiss these results as a personality conflict between him and the voters is far-reaching as well. There are many “strong” personalities in political office across our country, and many re-elected to their positions.
As an educator and parent, I am very concerned with the direction the governor and representatives want to take education. Enrollment in education departments across this state’s universities have dropped dramatically (up to 25 percent). College students are running away from a profession that guarantees less and expects much more. You might ask, “But what about merit pay?” You must understand that merit pay is a drop in the bucket and is only assured to those who teach in schools that do well on the ISTEP tests. It really is a case of the rich getting richer. With this in place, can we really expect the brightest and best minds to enter the education field?
The state’s systematic way of interpreting ISTEP results to determine a grade for a school is also troubling. We have seen schools in the VCSC go from an “A” to an “F” and vice versa in the past few years. The validity of such wide-ranging results needs to be scrutinized by the state. Is this a fair and accurate system?
Schools who stay in the lower category for too long face state sanctions and possible takeover by an outside agency hired by the state. If taken over, these schools are no longer a part of the school corporation and these charters have proven inferior to public schools. This, coupled with vouchers, is crippling school districts from serving the best interest of their students. With every dollar lost in these situations, the cost for the corporation goes unchanged.
As a teacher, I definitely need to be evaluated. Mr. Bennett and the state developed a tool to do that. Unfortunately, administrators and teachers alike have struggled to understand what exactly is expected. The instrument is very convoluted, making it difficult to follow and implement. It has ambiguous language that could jeopardize the evaluation of a teacher. Looking at the totality of changes at the state level, one begins to wonder if this is intentional. Fortunately, we have a great school board and superintendent who are working through this with us.
I hope Gov. Pence and the legislative supermajority stop the political spin and realize the loud voice of opposition to current education policy heard Nov. 6. Personally, I am so proud to be a teacher in the VCSC and look forward to meeting the needs of students in my classroom. My students are so much more to me than a standardized test score. Maybe someday they will be to the state as well.
— Jeff Maxwell
Since I have a right to own a gun (at least for the time being), should the government supply me, at no charge, the ammunition for it?
— Mark Burns
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 13, 2013
Let voters speak on marriage ban
High praise for those who help
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 12, 2013
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 11, 2013
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 10, 2013
• Proud of diploma from McLean HS
• Sports could use drone’s eye view
• Another great downtown fest
• ISU’s silence is disappointing
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 9, 2013
Remove politics from education
FLASHPOINT: Dealing with hunger requires less rhetoric, more action
In November, millions of families in Indiana and across the nation saw their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits cut through a planned phase-out of a temporary increase in funding that originally took place during the 2009 recession.
READER FORUM: Dec. 8, 2013
• Diving in to pool project
• A timely review of food basics
• Name-calling shows sad state of our politics
• Republicans their own worst enemy
• Full attack on common sense
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 6, 2013
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 5, 2013
• Anarchy is in the ‘tea’ leaves
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 3, 2013
• Prestige chosen over practicality
• Tea partiers love country, freedom
• Same old clowns
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 3, 2013
Prestige chosen over practicality
Tea partiers love country, freedom
Same old clowns
Readers’ Forum: Dec. 2, 2013
‘Ask not …’: Living by the words we speak
READERS’ FORUM: Dec. 1, 2013
The dangers of aggressive driving
Thanks to Lowe’s for great work
Another ‘Miracle’ set for Friday
Obama lies with malicious intent
Down the path to nowhere
Remembering to help needy
Jihadis, be careful what you wish for
Hanging on to people’s rights
No more trespassers thanks to mayor
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 29, 2013
Cooperation helps enhance security
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 28, 2013
Governor can put words into action
- Readers’ Forum: Nov. 27, 2013
READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 26, 2013
• Include Wea in Terre Haute’s ‘Walk of Fame’
• You can pardon a holiday turkey
• Rebuffed by Bennett
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 25, 2013
• Bosma wrong on marriage debate
• Savings Bank was key event sponsor
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 24, 2013
• Tech fails, but change positive
• Terre Haute Take care of your own trash, please
• What about the women?
• Another view of a physician’s life
• Could you follow these instructions?
• Just more lies from politicians
Readers’ Forum: November 23, 2013
Common sense or just nonsense?
Why all the air evacuations?
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 22, 2013
Nominations open for Polaris award
Frustrated by city’s response
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 21, 2013
• Bleeding green at West Vigo HS
• Fundraiser a great success
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 20, 2013
• More liberal shortsightedness
• Food no longer tried and true
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 19, 2013
• Candle lighting honors children
• Join the fun of Girl Scouts
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 18, 2013
Very pleased with child care center
Wrong directionon health care
READERS' FORUM: Nov. 17, 2013
What do you know about distracted driving?
Patriotism on display at vets museum
Here’s what’s governing nation
Bird’s legend the greatest gift of all
Mott misses boat on health care
Celebrating JA of Wabash Valley
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 16, 2013
FLASHPOINT: A pledge to work together with respect, civility
Indiana’s students and schools have made great progress in recent years. According to the latest scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Indiana is improving at the second-fastest rate of any state in the country. We owe this progress to the hard work of our students, teachers and the parents and school reformers everywhere who have insisted that we hold ourselves to high standards.
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 15, 2013
- READERS' FORUM: Nov. 13, 2013
- More Letters Headlines
- Readers’ Forum: Dec. 13, 2013