Back to School….

Well, according to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Indiana’s devotion to public education leaves a lot to be desired.

Indiana school reformers love letter grades, but they won’t like the grade assigned to their own work. The Network for Public Education gives the state a failing mark for its commitment to public education, based on measures controlled in recent years by a General Assembly beholden to privatization interests.

Indiana earned a grade of F, placing itself among some historically low achievers and states at the forefront of untested reforms: Idaho, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Texas and Arizona.

The low grades were based upon deficits in teacher professionalism, levels of privatization, and the investment of school funding resources.

Although the newspaper article didn’t mention it, Indiana Governor Mike Pence has been an ardent supporter of vouchers. Indiana’s voucher program is the largest in the nation, and the money redirected to private and parochial schools in the state comes out of funds that would otherwise go to the public school system. This is despite the fact that public school enrollment this fall was 1,046,146 students, compared to 84,030 non-public students.

Pence cannot distance himself from the poor grades earned by Indiana schools; ever since his election, he has moved aggressively to neuter and block the authority of Glenda Ritz, who was actually elected to run the state’s schools (with more votes, incidentally, than Pence garnered). As Politico reported at the time,

Pence and state Republicans have quickly moved to change state law to boot state Superintendent Glenda Ritz from her post as board of education chairwoman and allow other board members — most of whom Pence appointed — to elect a new leader. Ritz could still run the state education department but would have much less say in setting the policy that governs the agency.

More recently, media has reported that a state administrator hired by Pence altered language in a supposedly “independent” analysis that reflected poorly on the decision to substitute a new ISTEP exam for a previous one based on national Common Core academic standards.

Whatever “grades” Indiana schools receive, Pence owns them. As he heads into a much tougher re-election campaign than he originally contemplated, his power play against the elected Superintendent of Schools will be part of the political baggage that includes RFRA, his refusal to apply for federal funds for preschool, the state’s crumbling infrastructure, a “war on women”( a war that includes recently jettisoning the only high-ranking woman in his administration),  his much-derided “news bureau” and a variety of other unforced errors.

The 2016 election will give Hoosiers the opportunity to grade Governor Pence. Right now, he isn’t passing.

 

22 thoughts on “Back to School….

  1. Wow, all of that is a disaster for Indiana. I hope the people of voting age make an effort to show up at the polls to voice their dissatisfaction. If recent history is a guide, I believe that this political season might bring out the most voters and I hope that means good things for Indiana. Wow, just wow.

  2. Facts, facts…Pence don’t need no stinkin’ facts!

    And apparently neither do the voters in Indiana who refuse to change our anti-public education leadership. And yet; Daniels left the governor’s office to become President of Purdue University – thanks to his earlier board appointments. He did look to the future; his future career and paved the way to control another segment of education in this state. He left Pence his list of detailed instructions to continue failing the public education system – was it Pence himself or did Daniels whisper in his ear to fight Ms. Ritz and to remove an important segment of her responsibility to his own control? We will never know; what we do know is that we need a major change in leadership if we hope to save public education for our future generations of students.

  3. Someone suggested putting a picture of the alternative to Pence on milk cartons. Have we seen anything of the other guy? Where is he? I would wish him well if I could remember who he is.

  4. This is really great for growth and economic development. It cancels millions of dollar spent trying to con companies into moving here.

  5. And my Republican senator sends me his brief stating that he is supporting several education initiatives. I am going to email him and ask him is breaking the teacher’s union and undermining Glenda Ritz are part of the initiatives he supports.

  6. You might look into membership with the Indiana Coalition for Public Education (ICPE) to strengthen their lobbying group. Public education here needs all the help it can get in addition to your votes.

  7. Ignorant residents lead to…
    Corrupt state lead to…
    Controlled elections lead to…
    Failing public education lead to…
    Ignorant residents lead to…
    Corrupt state lead to…
    Failing public education lead to…
    Controlled elections lead to…
    Ignorant residents lead to…

  8. Public education is a public good. As such it is an intrinsic part of government. Private schools are started for reasons other than the public good, such as religion or profit, therefore not an intrinsic part of government.

    When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, we learned in Indiana History that Indiana had more colleges and universities per capita than any state in the union. It was a point of pride. Now, after so many years of the dumbing down of America, we take pride in ignorance.

  9. Public education is a public good. As such it is an intrinsic part of government. Private schools are started for reasons other than the public good, such as religion or profit, therefore not an intrinsic part of government.

    When I was a kid, back in the dark ages, we learned in Indiana History that Indiana had more colleges and universities per capita than any state in the union. It was a point of pride. Now, after so many years of the dumbing down of America, we take pride in ignorance.

  10. Here is my question for Sheila or any attorneys that read this blog:

    How is it legally possible to take taxpayer dollars from public education and funnel it to private, or especially, parochial schools? The latter is definitely mixing church with state.

    I do not like being forced to financially support private or parochial schools. In addition, I am tired of hearing that the parents who send their children to these schools via taxpayer dollars claim the dollars collected from them should follow their children. Those same parents forget that they are contributing a very small amount of money to their children’s education. There are millions of us that have no children in school, yet we pay into the public education system for their children. The property taxes we pay were never meant to be spent on private schools.

  11. Nancy, the US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of vouchers on the theory that the money goes to the parent, and it is the parent’s choice to send the child to a religious school, not the state’s. Then Indiana’s Supreme Court–using reasoning I can’t follow–held that Indiana’s so-called “Blaine Amendment” (a state constitutional provision barring state money from being used to support religious organizations or institutions) didn’t prohibit the use of vouchers at religious schools. Both courts had to overlook some inconvenient facts to arrive at those conclusions.

  12. Mike Pence is performing well within expectations, just like we figured he would do. He’s just filling in the details.

  13. patmcc – Someone suggested putting a picture of the alternative to Pence on milk cartons. Have we seen anything of the other guy? Where is he?

    The Beatles answered that:
    He’s a real nowhere man
    Sitting in his nowhere land
    Making all his nowhere plans for nobody

    Doesn’t have a point of view
    Knows not where he’s going to

  14. Sheila; if the Supreme Court upheld vouchers because the money goes to the parents – do the parents physically receive check/money order/voucher in their hot little hands? And what keeps them from spending the “money” elsewhere? And if it can only go to the selected private school and parents do not actually receive it, then the money does not go to the parents. These questions are no more convoluted than the U.S. and Indiana Supreme Court’s decisions on this issue.

    Nancy; the Constitution of the United States of America and the Indiana Constitution both uphold separation of church and state and the Indiana Constitution (I have forgotten the section) states outright that public education funds cannot be used for religious based schools – unless that has changed at the whim of Daniels, et al.

  15. Louie; I love your reference to “Nowhere Man” regarding Gregg’s supposed bid to run for governor. If there are any psychiatrists or psychologists reading this blog; could they please offer their professional opinion on this type of political campaigning…especially after Gregg lost to Pence four years ago due to his pitiful campaign platform.

  16. Clearly the Supremes (both sets) ruled unconstitutionally. We MUST elect a Democrat President and Democrat Governor to change this.

  17. Great comments today BTW. Clearly education is very important to the Hoosiers who comment here as it should be.

    What strikes me though is that education is more than an important thing it’s one of the small handful of things that will, I can’t emphasize that enough, will determine Indiana’s and America’s future. In that way it’s like climate change and healthcare and national security and agricultural stuff. Without very high problem solving performance on all of that stuff there is no future.

    Can you even imagine the day when Asians and Africans view Americans as the most backwards of nations and view the lesson of our downfall as the key to sustainable civilization.

    We tend to think of “dystopian” as a feature of fiction but it is in fact where we are headed.

    And it’s all because the forces of ignorance are challenging the forces of knowledge. It’s not good versus evil it’s the choice between choosing to know or choosing to believe.

    It’s education.

  18. Sheila, thank you for answering my question.

    So, a predominately conservative SCOTUS and a tea party governer (who is a puppet of the Koch brothers) can both ignore laws and constitutions if they don’t support what the conservatives want. How convenient!

  19. The question of where Gregg is reminds me of an old (Napoleon Bonaparte?) adage: “Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.”

    Pence seems to be doing a pretty good job of campaigning for Gregg thus far without any help.

    I”m sure we’ll get our fill of electioneering from both sides long before the election.

  20. Until the everyday Hoosier wakes up to the fact that our Govenor & his lap dogs in the state Senate & House are turning the Great State of Indiana into a not-so-funny national joke nothing will be done. The task required to turn this whole situation around is for all like minded Hoosiers to go to the polls & display our displeasure by voting these incompetent partisan politicians out of office. This will not be easily done as many folks in our state will vote for a Republican even if Jesus Christ was running as a Democrat. The only real election that politicians need to win is the Republican nomination for that office. The general election is nearly guaranteed to the Republican candidate. We’ve got to show these “Dyed-in-the-Wool” party loyal people that we are failing as a state by any measurable means because of that partisan cronyism. Being rated with the likes of Georgia & Missippi & Texas should be unacceptable. This is all maid possible due to the failed programs put in place by Govenor Pence & his hand puppets. It is time for a change. Boot the clowns out. VOTE!

  21. I don’t care if they are Pence, pounds or dollars I’m voting in November by clicking my selection of Straight Democrat Ticket. At least I will be certain that I am voting my conscience. It will be quick and easy at the polling place. No GOP candidate will receive my vote.
    I know it’s sad but it’s the only power I have to “boot the clowns out” as Jim Kingston wrote .

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