John Ellis, executive director of Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, sent the following letter as a letter to the editor/guest column of seven papers state wide. The letter is in response to the governor's recent comments regarding the new state budget and public education.
Educators who work daily to teach and develop 94% of Indiana’s school age population are concerned about the future of providing school services in tight economic times. Many who care about the delivery of quality educational programming were disappointed to see the Indiana General Assembly give tuition tax credits, sending public funds to private entities.
At least one person saw both of these concerns as positive. The Post-Tribune, a northwest Indiana newspaper, quoted Governor Daniels one day after the end of the special session: "If this is an end to public education as we know it, I say thank goodness.”
As the Governor writes off 94% of our children and 52% of our state’s expenditures, it is worth a look into his major educational initiatives as Governor. He really liked but was not able to deliver on the promise of expanding and fully supporting full-day kindergarten. Let’s find his second initiative to improve education for Indiana’s youth. No, really, let’s try and find even one.
We should all voice concern over Indiana’s graduation and dropout rates. We all should settle for nothing less than our best attempts to serve all students. Let’s all work toward improved achievement for all students. How do we get there in the Governor’s plan? Eliminate all funding for teacher training. Take from them opportunities to learn and share the best practices nationally and internationally to improve in all three of these areas and then criticize and berate all public school educators by stating in The Madison Courier newspaper, “We do not have a good school system in the state.”
“Thank goodness” for the end of public education? Opinion has been ruling over research and facts for too long. Public schools, the only state and national institution charged with developing good citizenship, are under attack and public schools have been responding. A good read for anyone who wants to track the opinions of those wanting to destroy public schools regardless of the facts has recently been published by the Educational Research Service—Dr. Gerald Bracey’s Educational Hell: Rhetoric vs. Reality.
Dr. Bracey states “…the humble public school is one of the greatest democratic inventions in the world.” He calls on educators to “mount a vigorous campaign to defend a great American institution” against “blatant propaganda pushed by the economic elite to discredit public investment that helps ordinary citizens.” Thank goodness.
John Ellis, Executive Director,
Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents
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