News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 20, 2012

GOP leaders in Statehouse predict some review of ed reforms

INDIANAPOLIS — Republican legislative leaders stung by the defeat of the state schools superintendent say Indiana lawmakers may take a closer look at how some of the sweeping education reforms in K-12 schools have been implemented.

At the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s legislative preview luncheon Monday, both House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem David Long repeated their earlier pledges not to roll back the GOP-backed reforms that are locked into law.

But both opened the door for more discussion — and possible changes —  to how some of those education-overhaul laws, including teacher assessments and the A-to-F grading of schools, have been put into practice.

The trigger: The Nov. 6 upset election of Democrat Glenda Ritz, fueled by the fury of teachers impacted hard by the reforms, over Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.

“The election of Glenda Ritz gives us an opportunity to have that discussion in a different format,” Bosma said.

“I’m surrounded by teachers on all fronts,” he added, after counting off the number of the teachers in his family. “They have taken it on the chin.”

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, an Anderson Democrat, said Ritz’s election is a signal from voters:

“They were basically saying, ‘Slow down and let’s take a look at what we’re doing.’ ”

In their respective positions, Bosma and Long presided over the GOP-controlled legislature that pushed through the major education laws that, among other things, created vouchers for private schools, tied teacher pay to student test scores and expanded high-stakes testing for students.

Neither backed off their support for those laws. But they also sounded more conciliatory than they and other GOP leaders did the day after Ritz was elected; at the time, Republicans claimed their legislative wins were affirmation that voters endorsed the reforms.

During Monday’s luncheon, in which legislative leaders weighed in on the 2013 session that begins in January, Long described teachers as heroic. He also said they needed to be paid more for the work they do and agreed with Bosma that teachers were feeling demoralized in the wake of the reforms.

Long also described Ritz’s low-budget, high-impact campaign against Bennett as “game-changing” in the way it used social media to tap into teachers and their supporters. Ritz, a political newcomer, got more votes in her race than Republican Gov.-elect Mike Pence got in his.

“When you see someone outspent 10-to-1 win, it’s an eye opener,” Long said.

“I’m not in any way pulling back my support for any of the education reforms. …” Long added. “But they will evolve, and everyone at the table will participate.”

On other issues, both Long and Bosma repeated their doubts about a campaign promise by made Pence to cut the state’s income tax rate by 10 percent.

They said the legislature in the last session already moved to reduce taxes, by phasing out the inheritance tax and reducing Indiana’s corporate taxes.

“We’ve already done tax reform,” said Long. Echoed Bosma: “David is setting the right tone.”

Both men cautioned about an uncertain economy that could impact the state’s current surplus by reducing revenues from the state’s sales tax. They also noted that gaming revenues from the state’s casinos are on a steady downward decline, and they face more pressure as neighboring states open more gambling venues.

Bosma also said the state has already made necessary budget cuts and still has financial obligations to keep. “We absolutely will live within our means,” Bosma said. “That’s the key. The fiscal fog is thick.”

Bosma and Long later told reporters that Pence did not consult with them before unveiling the tax-cut pledge. Pence, in a press conference the day after his election, said the tax cut remained his top priority.

Maureen Hayden is the Indiana Statehouse bureau chief for CNHI, the parent company of the Tribune-Star. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Raw: Plane Lands on New York Highway Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Wisc. Twins Celebrate a Century of Laughter LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Harding Love Letters Now Open to Public In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: 16 Killed in Gaza Market Strike Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival
NDN Video
Heartwarming 'Batkid Begins' Documentary is Tear-Jerker Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show'
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity