Don’t lower licensing standards for educators
I have been an educator in the public schools in three states for 17 years and at the university level in Indiana for 17 years. I have supervised over 200 student teachers at the elementary school level in Indiana. I give you my credentials to establish some credibility in the following matter.
I ask our Indiana lawmakers to consider very, very carefully the possible ramifications of lowering teacher, school principal and school superintendent licensure standards in the proposed legislation known as REPA 3.
Think about this: Would you want the law firm representing you in a wrongful death suit to give your case to the law firm’s newest administrative assistant? No, of course not. You would want a lawyer who had graduated from a good law school and passed the bar exam with a high score. Even better, you would want a lawyer with experience.
If this is true for you, why would you want the children of Indiana to be taught by someone who has never demonstrated teaching skill and knowledge? Why would you give someone a permanently renewable “adjunct permit” to teach without having taken any education courses? It makes more sense for prospective superintendents, principals and teachers to prove that they have attained the necessary knowledge and skill sets through accredited teacher education programs.
I ask our legislators to not think of education as a business. I realize that schools do not generate income and that taxpayers must fund our schools. But remember, our students are not “customers” and teachers are not “associates.” Students and teachers are humans with all the attributes and challenges of diversity. Therefore, one “size” does not fit all. Only the best trained and most qualified professionals should be in charge of Indiana’s classrooms, schools and school districts.
I encourage Indiana’s hard-working lawmakers to be responsive to public opinion on this matter and to pass into law those policies that provide the best, not second best, for our public school children.
— Deborah Flurkey, Instructor
Bayh College of Education Elementary, Early & Special Education
Indiana State University
The downside of tax incentives
Let’s review the governor’s plan to eliminate business personal property taxes. Revenue from this tax funds municipalities and schools that are already squeezed with property tax caps and property values that are further reduced by the housing collapse orchestrated by Bush’s Republican administration. The so-called great recession reduced property values by about a third, a considerable hit for municipalities and schools.
Both Daniels and Pence repeatedly cut state school funding, but Pence went even further and created a duplicate state education agency that serves no apparent purpose but to conflict and undermine the State Board of Education under Glenda Ritz. A clear savings of state education funds could be immediately realized by disbanding or at least defunding this unnecessary, duplicate state agency.
Reports show that existing Indiana businesses have difficulty filling good jobs because qualified applicants can’t be found. To be qualified, applicants must have the education and training for the required job skills, which rather strongly suggests that Indiana’s education system should be strengthened rather than weakened through even more revenue reduction.
Mark Bennett’s column of Jan. 9 does a pretty good job exposing the shallow thinking behind Pence’s proposal. If existing Indiana businesses can’t find qualified workers, where would new businesses find them? Would a qualified applicant from another state find Indiana’s revenue-starved education system, its dilapidated cities, and its nearly worst in the nation infant mortality rate attractive?
Most people work to support their families, and to provide better opportunity and quality of life. When revenues are reduced below a level that provides for quality of life, low taxes lose their incentive value. Low taxes don’t attract business if business can’t find qualified workers, and if the quality of life offered is too great a sacrifice to attract qualified workers from other areas. Business has a vested interest in strong communities and schools that provide a qualified workforce. These are big factors on where to locate. Taxes are much further down the list.
One also wonders why there should be a permanent revenue loss by eliminating business personal property taxes. What’s wrong with temporary or graduated tax abatement as a new business incentive, or perhaps a tax abatement plan for struggling Indiana businesses so that good jobs are retained? How about restructuring Indiana’s business property tax, or figuring out how to retain the revenue before it’s lost.
Pence’s plan seems ill-conceived, awfully short-sighted and severe for communities and schools that are already financially crippled. And his plan compromises Indiana’s future by further reducing the ability of communities and schools to provide the quality of life and education to qualify our kids for good-paying jobs.
What good are short-sighted business tax incentives if Indiana offers only dilapidated communities and under-funded schools that can’t provide quality of life and the necessary workplace skills?
— William Adams
Why do Hoosiers put up with this?
I just finished reading your editorial about Speaker Bosma’s lack of navigational skills (“Speaker Bosma veers off course”) and although I don’t agree with your assessment of his intelligence, I do agree that your assessment of the negative ramifications of his navigating are right on target.
What I don’t understand is why the voting populace of Indiana continues to elect people (like him) who have no interest or commitment in “representing” us, but instead want to “rule” and “regulate” us to death?
This constitutional amendment is not going to create or help to create one single job; in fact, there’s a strong possibility (based on the opinions of those who know) that it may in fact cost us future job growth because of the underlying discrimination and hostility in such an amendment.
0Industry has long advised our elected leaders that when they look for a manufacturing location, they look for good roads (infrastructure), skilled labor availability, good schools, and friendly communities where crime is minimal or non-existent. Not one time has it been said that sexual orientation was a determining factor in choosing a location.
This current legislature and administration is not working for the citizenry of this state, and this has been an ongoing problem for over nine years.
The current majority seems more interested in lowering the standard of living statewide which in turn reduces the revenue stream both in the private and public sectors.
The mass exodus of our high school and college graduates should be proof positive that (to them) Indiana is no longer a place to plan a career or raise a family unless they want to live in poverty all their lives.
Your editorial doesn’t appear to be biased (certainly not as biased as I am) and I wonder why the majority voters in this state don’t realize that enough is enough and it’s time to clean house.
Thanks for the editorial. It was well written and made a very good point. It’s too bad that it will not receive the attention and the action that it deserves.
— John D. Moore
Marriage equality gains acceptance
Bill, Bill, Bill … (Jaeger, Tribune-Star, Jan. 23):
All empires fall, and for reasons much more profound than “if it feels good do it.” In a world with 7 billion people, “use your reproductive equipment productively” is not a persuasive argument for discriminating against gays and lesbians. Marriage equality is unlikely to redefine your “thoughts.”
Your statement that “conditions do require its (marriage ban) consideration” is probably correct for those who desperately wish to diminish the lives of others. Acceptance of marriage equality is growing as Hoosiers choose to redefine their own thoughts. In a year or two, HRJ-3 probably would stand no chance of House or Hoosier approval.
— Jim Hughes
A divisive issue? Let everyone vote
No matter where anyone stands on the same-sex marriage issue, I take exception to the Jan. 15 editorial.
Particularly distasteful is your statement, “It’s the job of the legislators to do what’s right and best for all constituents, not shrug it off for someone else to decide.”
Really? Now we call the voters “someone else”?
Condescending is the first word that comes to my mind. If the issue is so divisive, that is all the more reason to let the voters decide.
— Dave Myers
Let’s not try to define marriage
I have spent a good bit of my retired life in trying to solve math problems. For some variety, I write this letter to suggest a solution to the gay marriage issue.
Most all of us agree that church and state should separate as much as possible. Currently, they are both very much involved in the marriage process.
Any two people can agree to live together, love each other and take care of each other. If they want their union to be blessed by a church, there are many churches that do not require the couple to include both male and female. As part of the church-state separation, the church would not require a government-issued license. Many will claim that that union of same-sex couples is not the will of God and not approved by the Bible, but we will never agree on the will of God. That is why we have so many different religions and different denominations within those religions.
The problem is that the government tries to define marriage and include it in the tax code. To attack this problem, we must first find out how this tax break came about.
I would guess it is to help families with the cost or rearing children. Thus the tax exemption need not depend on marriage but only on the care of children. This is reasonable since society benefits when children are cared for, and these parents would have more expenses.
The solution is to totally delete the “Marriage Exemption” and increase the tax credit for children. There are other government laws depending on the word marriage and these would also need to be modified. The bottom line is that the government should not try to define marriage.
— Herb Bailey
Whose job is it to judge others?
I read the letter from a Mr. Piatt of Brazil on Jan. 17. You are asking me to accept your faith without question concerning the issue of homosexuality. This I cannot do. Your faith is yours, but I cannot agree with you. It is all well and good that you believe as you do, but should the right to not believe be extended to those who choose not to accept something that was written by intolerant men many thousands of years ago? I have the right to believe as I want.
According to you, our only purpose here on earth is to spend out life trying to please God so we can be assured of a place in heaven. Since we have no concrete proof of who has been allowed into heaven, maybe your belief is somewhat limited. Wouldn’t it be a hoot if when you come before God, he tells you that your beliefs have caused hurt and pain to others and you are denied entrance. Since no one has ever returned to tell what heaven was like, we have no way of knowing who is there and who isn’t.
I think most people today believe in “live and let live.” What you do in your personal life remains your business. Mr. Piatt, who are you to sit in judgment of another person? If self control could cure a person who is homosexual, don’t you think they would do it so as to avoid condemnation by people with your viewpoint. A person is either gay or straight from birth. It isn’t a matter of choice. It isn’t a matter of self-control. If a gay person lives a life devoted to helping others and gives of himself to the betterment of all, who are you to judge him?
You are quick to quote the Bible when you feel it supports your intolerant viewpoint, but what about what Jesus says about loving one another?
To deny a person the same rights as others based upon their sexual preference is to deny rights to all. You cannot sit in judgment of another person as that is a position allotted to God. The rights of you and your religious organization shouldn’t be allowed to deny the same rights to others who do not believe as you do. I guess what I am saying is simply this: Keep religion out of government and lawmaking.
What is right for one group, is right for all no matter what your sexual preference is. Laws are meant to govern fairly for all members of the society and should be applied equally to all. If you want to involve religion in lawmaking, then these groups should pay taxes and not have special preferences. Otherwise, they should believe as they choose but the rest of us should also have the same right to live our lives without believing in religion.
— Shirley A. Thomas
Hey, neighbor, can we chat?
To the man who called my cell phone on Thursday, Jan. 2, at 9:17 p.m., I am sorry that someone is stealing your newspaper off your porch but you obviously got the wrong number. You shouted at me, “This is your neighbor; stop coming and stealing the newspaper off my porch.”
When I asked who you were and what you were talking about you repeatedly shouted the same crazed rant and hung up the phone. I looked at my caller ID and hit redial; to my surprise the phone call was made from a northside retail store. I questioned the people at the store. I’m sure they thought I was crazy. But they tried to be helpful. No one except for a female had asked to use their phone.
For the next several days my curiosity increased; I have since learned they make an “app” that will disguise the number you are calling from; which I personally think is cowardly. So, to that “neighbor” I have some suggestions for him:
1. Let your paper delivery person know that you are having problems with someone taking your newspaper; please place it in a newspaper box or inside your storm door.
2. Go personally to your neighbor ask them to please stop taking your newspaper and if they would wait until you finish with it. Then you might share it.
3. Report it to the newspaper office.
4. Report it to your local police department — after all I think it could be considered petty theft.
5. And, lastly, please make sure you have the right person when complaining.
Thanks for listening, and/or reading, “neighbor.”
— Glenda Grant