Archives for category: Indiana

The latest poll shows that most Hoosiers want a new governor. 54% want a new governor. Less than a third say they want to re-elect Pence.

Two issues loom over Pence. One was his early support (and then retraction) for a bill that would have allowed people to discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation (it was only when major corporations threatened to leave Indiana that Pence changed his views on the bill). The other is education, where Pence has continued hhis predecessor Mitch Daniels’ agenda of privatizing public education.

Go, Hoosiers! Get a new governor who cares about children, public schools, and the future of Indiana and the nation!

A last-minute deal to create a loan program for charters has raised questions in Indiana, since charters already have heavy debts.

“In the final days of this year’s legislative session, Republican lawmakers dropped into the massive state budget bill a provision giving charter schools access to $50 million in low-interest state loans.

“The measure was a last-minute effort to appease Gov. Mike Pence, who had sought more funding for charter schools, and it received virtually no public scrutiny.

“Now some critics — including the Senate’s chief budget writer — are sounding an alarm about the new program, given the significant debt of many charter schools.

“The main concern: Who will be on the hook if charter schools don’t repay the loans?”

The usual answer: the taxpayers of Indiana.

“In 2013, the state forgave and paid off more than $90 million in charter school loans. The move drew protests from traditional public schools whose loans were not forgiven and consequently charter schools were no longer given access to the loan money.

“Kenley said Pence and House Speaker Brian Bosma plan to do the same thing again with the new loan program — an assertion that neither denied outright.

“It’s always a possibility in the future,” Bosma said.

Watch Glenda Ritz announce for Governor of Indiana. Now we know why Governor Pence has worked so hard to grind her down.

Go, Glenda, go!

Gerardo Gonzalez, dean of the College of Education at Indiana University, wrote a letter to the editor of the Indianapolis Star agreeing with the dean of the College of Education at Purdue: Indiana is on track for an education disaster because of the policies enacted by the legislature at the behest of former Governor Mitch Daniels (now president of Purdue) and continued by his success Mike Pence.

 

He wrote:

 

Indiana’s downward trend in education enrollments can be traced directly to the policies promoted under then-Gov. Daniels and Indiana schools superintendent Tony Bennett. Between 2000 and 2012 constant-dollar teacher salaries in Indiana decreased by 10 percent, outpaced nationally only by North Carolina’s 14 percent decrease.

 

At the same time, the wrong-headed Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability policies promoted by Daniels and Bennett increased regulation of education schools and licensure requirements for teacher education students while lowering standards of preparation for nontraditional teacher prep programs. Coupled with the equally flawed testing and test-based teacher evaluation policies implemented in the state, these rules have driven out experienced, effective teachers while discouraging new teachers from entering the field.

 

Unless Indiana changes course, its public education system is headed for disaster. Already teacher shortages are being felt across the board, not just in traditional shortage areas.

 

It is wonderful to see education leaders speaking out fearlessly and telling the truth. Indiana’s leaders have led education to a precipice. Will the electorate permit them to continue destroying public education and higher education?

Purdue’s dean of education Maryann Santos de Barona bluntly described the pernicious effects of “reform” on enrollment in the College of Education, as Purdue President Mitch Daniels listened quietly. As Governor of Indiana, Daniels was responsible for the “reforms” she was describing.

 

 

Maryann Santos de Barona, dean of Purdue University’s College of Education for the past six years, was at the front of a Stewart Center meeting room May 14 for one of those death-by-PowerPoint presentations. From among her dozens of slides, the dean was showing the university’s trustees a sinking trend line of undergraduates enrolled in Purdue’s teacher education program.

 

At the other end of a conference table, one big enough to seat 10 trustees and assorted support staff, was Mitch Daniels. The Purdue president fidgeted as his education dean unflinchingly laid out her hypotheses for why students were avoiding careers in elementary and secondary education, as well as why test-weary schools were increasingly reluctant to experiment with Purdue-developed curriculum.

 

Wait, you know where this one is going, right? Probably so.

 

But it still was stunningly awkward, as the dean heaped so much of the blame at the feet of her boss, without calling him out by name. She didn’t have to. Not a person in the room — probably not in the state — was unfamiliar with Daniels’ role for clearing the way for education reform in Indiana in his previous life as a two-term Republican governor.

 

“What is happening in (pre-kindergarten to 12th-grade) education, in legislative bodies and in governmental offices, affects our enrollment, our course offerings and our administrative responsibilities,” Santos de Barona said during an annual update for the trustees’ Academic Affairs Committee.

 

“Our profession is at a critical juncture,” she said. “The pervasive negativity about the teaching profession, and the misconception that education is broken, has resulted in increased pressures on practicing teachers. As a result, they are less likely to want to mentor our student teachers — and have less time to do so. Teachers and administrators are reluctant to let our faculty research in their classrooms, as this represents a risk that might impact test scores.”

 

Santos de Barona said undergraduate enrollment in the College of Education is down 33 percent since 2010, even as recruitment efforts have been ramped up to interest high school seniors across Indiana and students looking into changing majors once on campus. (Graduate student enrollment at the education college is up 32 percent during the same time. “We saw this coming and diversified our portfolio,” Santos de Barona said after the meeting.)

 

Santos de Barona told the trustees that Purdue wasn’t alone in this — that it was a national issue. One example: Ball State University, once called Ball State Teachers College, has seen a 45 percent drop in undergraduates in its elementary and kindergarten prep programs in the past decade.

 

Santos de Barona didn’t specifically mention it, but the trend at Purdue tracks the timeline of education reform in Indiana, when teachers’ bargaining power was busted, scores on standardized tests were tied more closely to pay raises and to overall A-to-F grades for schools, and the introduction and expansion of a private school voucher system sold on the idea that there had to be something better than what public schools could provide.

 

How refreshing that the dean brought the terrible consequences of the Governor’s actions to his face and let him know that he is responsible for a catastrophic decline in the number of young people entering the teaching profession. Being a reformster means you are never held accountable for your actions. Former Governor Mitch Daniels was confronted with the facts. Wonder what he heard? Or did he just tune out his dean?

 

 

Yes, as readers have suggested, Dean Barona belongs on the blog’s honor roll for speaking truth to power.

Glenda Ritz will be making an announcement on June 5th at 11:00 a.m. that is running for Governor.

She will make the announcement at the main branch of the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne.

Glenda is state superintendent of education in Indiana. She defeated reformster Tony Bennett in 2012, despite a 10-1 funding advantage for Bennett. Tony Bennett was chairman of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change, the reformy organization of state chiefs who favor vouchers, charters, high-stakes testing, and digital learning. After his defeat, Bennett was immediately hired to be state superintendent in Florida. (Can anyone spell Jeb Bush?) But he resigned that position after a news story revealed that he and his aides had manipulated the school grades to favor a charter school founded by a major contributor to his campaign.

In 2012, Glenda received more votes than Governor Mike Pence. Pence must have been afraid she would run against him, because he has spent the last three years undermining her, whittling away the powers of her office, transferring her authority to an agency he created or to the state board, which he appoints.

Glenda Ritz would be a great governor for Indiana.

According to this article at Huffington post, State Superintendent of Education Glenda Ritz is thinking about running against Governor Pence next year. She won more votes than he did in 2012.

He has been harassing Ritz ever since in an effort to belittle her. He made a fool of himself nationally by signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, then backtracking when national corporations complained that they would boycott Indiana if the state allowed anti-gay discrimination.

Ritz has a chance to restore common sense and decency to Indiana. Go, Glenda!

Governor Mike Pence signed the bill to permit the state board to elect its own chair, which currently is the state superintendent Glenda Ritz. This nonsense is billed as a “reform.” The children of the state will learn more now that the board appoints the chair.

Of course, this is nothing more than a continuation of Pence’s vendetta against Ritz, who won more votes than he did in 2012.

Given that history, she is a natural candidate to run against him in 2016.

Go, Glenda!

In his never-ending campaign to strip away any power from duly-elected State Superintendent of Education Glenda Ritz, Governor Mike Pence has removed oversight of the voucher program from the State Education Department. Apparently he won’t be satisfied until Ritz has nothing but a key to the bathroom.

Here’s a thought. Ritz won more votes than Pence. How about Ritz for Governor in 2016? Turn the rascals out! Restore decency to the Hoosier State!

Forget all that rhetoric about “choice” to “save poor kids from failing public schools.” It is a rightwing ruse to siphon public money for private and religious schools.

Proof: in Indiana, voucher enrollments expanded by 50% this year. Fully half the voucher students never attended any public school.

These are not children who were “trapped in a failing school.” They are children whose parents want the state to pay their tuition at a nonpublic school.

“Students using the voucher program — the second largest and fastest-growing of its kind in the nation — now account for 2.6 percent of Indiana’s school system, according to the latest annual report released Monday by the Indiana Department of Education.
Vouchers, billed by the state as “choice scholarships,” funnel tax dollars to support student tuition at private schools. The program is controversial: Proponents say the program expands quality options for poor children, and opponents say the state shouldn’t use tax dollars to pay for religious education while draining the coffers of public schools.”

In a few short years, the program has changed as restrictions are dropped.

The president of the Indiana State Teachers Association said the voucher program “has become an entitlement program which in large part, now benefits middle class families who always intended to send their children to private (mostly religious) schools and taxpayers are footing the growing bill.”

“Several rules placed on the program at its infancy have since relaxed, including the enrollment cap in the first two years and a requirement that students must first try out a public school in their neighborhood before they used a scholarship. New rules last year also allowed siblings and students qualifying for special education services to use vouchers.

“The program has also become less racially diverse over time. This year 61 percent of students using vouchers are white, compared with 46 percent when it started. Just 14 percent of the students are black this year, compared with 24 percent in 2011-12. (Overall, 71 percent of Indiana students are white. About 12 percent are black.)”

This is not a bug or a glitch. This is exactly what voucher proponents like ALEC have wanted all along.

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