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
Editorial: What do Sony cutbacks mean?
It is easy to understand why shivers run down local people’s spines whenever rumors hit the streets about Sony DADC’s plant on Terre Haute’s east side. With more than 1,400 people currently employed in Sony’s production and distribution facilities, the community has grown somewhat dependent on the economic stability Sony provides.
- Readers’ Forum: March 7, 2014
RONN MOTT: Knicks
The big noise in the NBA is whether Carmelo Anthony will stay with the New York Knicks or go elsewhere.
If my memory serves, and it doesn’t always, Carmelo left the Denver Nuggets, the team that drafted him, to play in the bright lights of the Big Apple. It was loudly proclaimed at the time that Carmelo wanted to play for a championship team. The Knicks’ ownership bought a bunch of players and spent a whole bunch of money to aid Carmelo in helping the Knicks to get to a championship.
EDITORIAL: More ill will against gays
If you’re a feral cat wandering freely through a trailer park in Indiana, the General Assembly has taken action to make your life better.
Readers’ Forum: March 6, 2014
Utilities do need tighter regulation
Great work by TV sports staff
Editorial: A good place for persistence
The topic of Gov. Mike Pence’s effectiveness as the state’s top governmental leader during this year’s General Assembly will be hashed and rehashed after the session closes down in the next couple of weeks. At best, the first-term governor will get mixed marks.
- Readers’ Forum: March 5, 2014
RONN MOTT: Abraham Lincoln and George Washington
I remember when by edict the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were lumped into a single celebration called “Presidents Day.” I thought it was stupid then, and I still do.
LIZ CIANCONE: Antiques show better than any modern programs
I’m not a big fan of television.
Readers’ Forum: March 4, 2014
Lunatic ravings of the far right
Let IRS take the bullying pledge
EDITORIAL: New attention on sex assaults
Youth sexual assault in Indiana is a troubling issue that has not received the attention it deserves.
KELLY HAWES: It’s time to take politics out of redistricting
A bill to form a bipartisan redistricting commission apparently died in the Indiana Senate last week.
Readers’ Forum: March 3, 2014
Social workers honor profession
FLASHPOINT: Restoring trust, respect in schools rests in fundamentals
A recent Harris poll of 2,250 adults reveals a troubling educational trend.
EDITORIAL: Voters don’t have to stand for entrenched partisanship
Realistic Hoosiers understand members of Congress will typically follow their political party line.
MARK BENNETT: People spaces
Demolition machinery chipped away at the buildings on the 500 block of Wabash Avenue. I stood and watched awhile, last week. By July 2015, a new $18.7-million structure will replace those relics.
THOMAS L. STEIGER: Creativity requires freedom from the risks of failure
Last week I wrote about the themes that emerged from the panel discussion by five Wabash Valley members of the “creative class.”
Flashpoint: Everyone would benefit from responsibly expanding health coverage for Hoosiers
A medical epidemic is one of the worst scenarios a hospital can face — when a significant portion of the population is suddenly struck with a life-threatening illness.
Readers’ Forum: March 2, 2014
Candle still burns at St. Ann’s Clinic
Thanks to all at Sarah Scott
How should we define marriage?
An argument of science and law
Chance to expand your knowledge
Excellent service from paper carrier
Central time zone makes more sense
Summer adult baseball league for all ages
Recognizing that all people matter
More selfish opposition to Common Core
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news
Cheers, Jeers and Tears
You can say that again
Reader Poll results
RONN MOTT: Independent thinking in a rapidly changing world
I am a rather independent person. Oh, I don’t belong to any radical, political organization.
Editorial: Toward a better Lifeline Law
In a perfect world, no college or high school student under 21 would drink alcohol, especially to excess. No student would be sexually assaulted. And no student would experience a drug overdose. There is no perfect world.
- Readers’ Forum: Feb. 28, 2014
RONN MOTT: Ukraine
It’s quiet in Ukraine as I write this but, trust me, it won’t be quiet very long.
EDITORIAL: More welcome news for downtown
An average game of dominoes lasts about a half-hour.
READERS' FORUM: Feb. 27, 2014
• Unfair criticism of electric utility
Editorial: A display of confidence
Successful organizations and institutions have stable and effective leadership at the top. Those who don’t suffer the consequences. So it’s no surprise that Indiana State University’s board of trustees is offering a three-year contract extension to President Dan Bradley to run through mid 2019.
- Readers' Forum: Feb. 26, 2014
RONN MOTT: The Olympics
In the medal count in the Olympics, we ended in second place. In times past, without infusion of money, training, etc., second place might have been OK. For this sports-crazy nation, it is not OK.
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.
- More Opinion Headlines
- Editorial: What do Sony cutbacks mean?