TERRE HAUTE —
A friend asked me the other day what I thought of Tony Bennett.
She had been a teacher and is now retired. I knew who she meant, but I just smiled sweetly and said, “I think he’s a great singer. I especially like his recording of ‘I Left My Heart in San Francisco’.” She looked confused, so I took pity. “Oh, you mean that man in Indianapolis masquerading as an expert on education?”
Yes, that’s who she meant all right and, like anyone who has served years in the trenches, she wasn’t enthusiastic about the changes which have been made in the name of improving public education. I spent only one year in those trenches and am no expert, but I can’t believe that cutting funding is going to go far when it comes to raising test schools. I can’t believe that cutting taxes for millionaires is going to create jobs either, but that’s another matter.
There are far too many problems in society and these affect kids and schools. Problems won’t go away just because the kid moves to a charter school.
And we are about to embark on another school year. Tony, Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction, and our governor are convinced that all the problems will disappear if the taxpayers subsidize private education. Even if that were true — and evaluations of charter schools in other states find as many problems as they profess to find in public schools — the whole project is a law suit waiting to happen. Do the taxpayers of Indiana want to go to court to prevent tax dollars diverted to private education?
Even Tony seems to be aware that public schools are over a barrel. The property tax cap put the pinch on public schools because property taxes traditionally provide the bulk of financial support for the schools. Then there are all those mandates, state and federal, many of which are ordered but not funded. One proposal suggests charging kids who ride the school bus. It’s not clear if that’s a suggestion or a mandate.
Nor is it clear whether private and charter schools will be required to administer the ISTEP tests and if teachers there will be rewarded only if the private/charter school improves. It isn’t clear that private/charter schools will be held to standards to provide access for handicapped children or whether they will be allowed to dump a problem child back on the public school system.
I wonder if those questions were asked before the rush to legislate. Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to ask professional educators for input before rushing to judge?
In the immortal words of Bette Davis, “Fasten your seat belts! It’s going to be a rocky year!”
Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
TERRE HAUTE —
A friend asked me the other day what I thought of Tony Bennett.
- Liz Ciancone
LIZ CIANCONE: Antiques show better than any modern programs
I’m not a big fan of television.
LIZ CIANCONE: Preference wins over etiquette every time
It’s a source of amusement to me when I read about the trivia which concerns some folks.
LIZ CIANCONE: Valentine’s more fun when we were young
I, for one, am glad that it’s over and I have a year before I’m asked to buy a goodie for my valentine.
LIZ CIANCONE: Why do we bother that rodent on a cold day?
I have a bone to pick with Punxsutawney Phil. I may have to get in line or take a number, but I am willing to wait it out.
LIZ CIANCONE: Few can top the tale of 18 cats
I joined the other ladies at the round table at the Sports Center the other morning, and someone asked Frieda about her cats.
LIZ CIANCONE: Building a career tapping a keyboard
I wish I had a dollar for every time an adult asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
LIZ CIANCONE: How can we stop the flow of unwanted postal mail?
I eagerly await a sign-up for something similar to the do-not-call list. I want a “do-not-mail” list.
Liz Ciancone: When it couldn’t get any worse
We all have our “why me?” days. I’ve had what I hope is my yearly quota, beginning with Thanksgiving.
LIZ CIANCONE: Once again we observe one small step in time
My Best Friend and I like to get up early. Naturally, if we are to log the recommended eight hours of sleep, this necessitates an early-to-bed routine.
LIZ CIANCONE: Ready or not, big day has arrived
It’s about this time every winter when greetings cease to be “Merry Christmas” with the added question, “Are you all ready for the big day?”
LIZ CIANCONE: Nothing like the silence of a winter snowfall
I’m not a big fan of cold and snow, but …
MS. TAKES: Important date passes by without much notice
Recently we were asked to share our memories of the Kennedy assassination. Folks were interviewed for television or radio, or were asked to recall exactly what they were doing when they got word that our president had been murdered.
MS. TAKES: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of. Our friend, Bill, stopped by our table to offer holiday felicitations and the conversation turned, as it often does this time of year, to Christmas.
LIZ CIANCONE: Plenty of downsides to tree with candlelight
I had been spinning my wheels over Thanksgiving preparations the other day, so my Best Friend took me out for breakfast — a little luxury I never tire of.
LIZ CIANCONE: Mourning a death is a personal exercise
One does not properly “celebrate” an assassination, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to be reminded that there are a lot of nuts out there. Coverage this past week of the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination still has the power to disturb, but all the theories won’t undo the facts.
LIZ CIANCONE: The greatest invention ever? Frozen orange juice
We were talking the other day and someone posed the question: “What do you think has been the greatest invention of all time?”
LIZ CIANCONE: Even mild forecast can give you the shivers
The local weather report the other evening included a bit of folklore. Our weather guru said that the story is that if snakes have not crawled off to winter quarters by late October, we were in for a mild winter.
LIZ CIANCONE: Extra hour gives more time to reset all the clocks
At the risk of becoming a bore, I really hate daylight saving time.
LIZ CIANCONE: Baseball’s cool days equal cold hard cash
I was driving to the grocery the other day and was startled when a few ice crystals rattled against the windshield.
LIZ CIANCONE: What songs are on your personal hit parade?
Is it possible that you could rattle off your 10 or 12 favorite recordings of all time on the spur of the moment?
LIZ CIANCONE: Finding a little quiet time harder than ever
Two things I especially miss about living in a small town like Yorkville are the quiet and the dark. Both offered an opportunity for quality quiet time to just think.
LIZ CIANCONE: If only we could see next fad coming
I’ve never claimed to be a smart investor. In my defense, I would need a crystal ball, or a double deck of tarot cards, or maybe a Ouija board to anticipate what gadget or fad would be the next to tweak the public fancy and earn me a million dollars.
LIZ CIANCONE: Congress deserves to be fired for actions
I don’t like to write about politics. I’m not interested in trying to convert anyone to my preference, and hope the same courtesy will be extended to me.
LIZ CIANCONE: Choosing a wedding date is personal
It wasn’t that long ago when I sat at the “society desk” at The Tribune-Star. I learned that August was second only to June as the favored month for weddings. And, every so often, there is a program of providers of everything from flowers to wedding cakes and gowns. I suppose this is to assure that the happy event will be done “properly.”
LIZ CIANCONE: Weather throws a wrinkle in the ironing
I’m convinced that Mother Nature is throwing me a curve ball — high and inside, at that.
LIZ CIANCONE: Game used ad slogans to craft good stories
Years ago I received a special game for Christmas.
LIZ CIANCONE: Today’s headlines, tomorrow’s history
Someone once said that a newspaper was a rough draft of history. It was probably Dr. Beatty, my favorite history professor.
LIZ CIANCONE: School supplies these days just don’t add up
School bells rang yesterday to begin a new school year. I really wish I was still of an age to trek back to that proverbial “little red schoolhouse.”
LIZ CIANCONE: Puzzles do make the best games
I come from a family of game players. Mom and Dad would pass the evening hours with a cribbage board sitting between them on a table.
LIZ CIANCONE: Taking comfort in the familiar
I find that change just isn’t as much fun as it once was. There is comfort in the familiar — an old pair of shoes or a mattress which seems to have lumps in all the right places. I’m falling into a rut. I tend to do things in the same old way, eat lunch at the same old places and see the same faces in the usual spots. In general, it means taking life as it comes, easily and comfortably.
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