The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Letter to the Editor: Thank Goodness?

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


Anonymous said...

I think it is somewhat alarmist to write that recent trends in or state government are spelling the end to public education as we know it. The system is too large to change effieciently or effectively. There are not enough private schools in the state to accomodate the numbers public schools officials insist will fock there once vouchers are made available. Besides, the private schools will do two things.....carefully select those they let in on vouchers and limit their enrollment.

However, if the legislature is as concerned about dropout and graduation rates as educators are, then they would develop a tax credit for each family whose child met basic attendance goals, stayed in school until graduation, and offer a credit for each child who graduates.

Drop out, attendance, and graduation are being dealt with in the wrong Teachers and administrators have little or no control over the dynamics that cause this student behavior. The real influence are paernts who either do not care enough to make sure their kid gets to, stays at, and graduates from school. Attach a reward for it and you might find some parents who suddenly care more and will make an effort to make sure their child does the right thing. Money talks and educational thoery walks.....heck, even a dense politician can understand this concept.

Anonymous said...

Governor Daniels has been and will continue to be against public schools. He says he wants to combat brain drain, and keep the best and brightest in Indiana after they finish college--the problem is, if we don't have solid public schools to teach kids from age 5 to age 18, how are we going to have anyone to send to college?
Public schools are one of the best things the Founding Fathers did for this coutnry-right after the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution!

Anonymous said...

Here's an original idea. If Gov. Daniels wishes to keep college graduates in Indiana, perhaps he should see to it that there are jobs for them to fill after graduation.

Anonymous said...

The Governor of Indiana's children went to private schools... his wife in charge of Indiana's "charter" schools.... is it any surprise that he does not care about the rest of us?

Teaching in a private or charter school is like choosing a team for a successful sports team... you don't have to keep everyone!

No, Gov. McDaniel does not care about education as a whole in our state.

Anonymous said...

Most politicians choose private schools, including the president. Why?

Anonymous said...

Because most politicians are stuck in large inner cities where the education is terrible. They do not have Penn or Carroll or Homestead to send their kids to. They largely have schools that are not safe and have graduation rates less than 40% and test scores that are among the lowest in the nation. Where would you send your kid if you were faced with that?

Anonymous said...

How about finding one project and seeing to fruition? All-day Kindergarten? More like his excuse for not providing (like the majority of other states do) pre-K educational services that are state funded.

Title I funding? Why are the Title I personnel paid from a different fund that the general educators are? Why make year-to-year help for teachers based from a seperate budget when enrollment only continues to go up?

Gov. Daniels puts education last on his list of things not to care about in Indiana, its disgraceful!