Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We Is Ignorant! "Indiana Education" Is Turning Into An Oxymoron

The Indianapolis Star reports today that two-thirds of all of our school districts are on "academic watch" or "academic probation." This is a dramatic increase from years prior.

Governor Mitch Daniels - Republican - Year 5. Sue Ellen Reed - Republican - FOUR TERMS, then Richard Bennet - Republican Newbie - Year 1. That's an awful lot of Republicanism presiding over a failing education system, isn't it?

Oh, wait. I'm sure the problem is federal mandates, right? An unnamed source must have said so because the Star writes:

Because the state is not allowed to scrap the federal AYP system, schools that
fail to make adequate yearly progress under that system cannot be placed higher
than the middle tier, "academic progress."

AYP is the shorthand for "No Child Left Behind." Putting aside that "somebody's" defense is that we look worse because of those pesky federal standards, whose pet project was that "No Child Left Behind?!?" Oh, that's right. George W. Bush, another Republican.

Mr. Bennett has said he plans to be more aggressive in taking over low-performing schools. I'll believe it when I see it. The party's history doesn't inspire confidence.



varangianguard said...

I think Superintendent Bennett is sending teams out to all of these schools real soon.

J. Hagedorn said...



The Super Friends?

Superintendent Bennett is going to do the same thing that his predecessor did. He's going to say, "Blah, blah, blah, improvement. Blah, blah, blah funding. Blah, blah, blah Legislation."

And then he's going to do absolutely nothing to fight Our Man Mitch's attempts to cut education funding.

I hope I'm wrong, but I share Chris' suspicion about Republican principles when it comes to education.

jabberdoodle said...

The print version is different from the on-line version of this story, oddly enough.
In the print version Gammill says:
"Educators prefer Indiana's approach because it measures how many more students pass exams over time, but the results were just as bad this year.
Among schools, 47 percent were on academic watch or probation, ranging from 35 percent of elementary schools to 70 percent of high schools."
I do hope that Bennett is going to move forward as he says he will. It is high time that the education of Indiana's children be front an center and not the desires of the Indiana State Teachers Union and Administrators. Even though you point to Republicans who have fallen asleep at the switch, it is certainly Democrats in the Legislature who wet their pants every time the ISTA calls on them.

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Jon E. Easter said...

I understand the frustration of the public towards our education system. As public school educator, I can completely tell you that we have our problems, but I can also tell you that teachers and administrators are working to solve the problems.

We understand that, even though NCLB is an unfunded mandate that has major flaws, it is the way schools are compared with each other and with the standards we must all meet. No Child Left Behind was a spectacular idea. It has been botched in practice, and it continues to be.

My aim as a teacher is to get my students ready for college and for a career. I teach life skills as much as I teach curriculum. Where I teach, some students don't see their parents as much as they see me. I just believe that looking at numbers on a page doesn't tell the full story about what's going on in our schools.

I will say this. Mitch Daniels' major education issue this past election was giving teachers the ability to discipline students more easily. He was missing the boat. Discipline is tied to a number of things.

If a student can't read, then they are more likely to act out. If a student doesn't have his or her basic needs met, then they are more likely to act out. Instead of addressing the discipline, Governor Daniels should have addressed the causes of bad behavior.

Education is, to a great deal, about building relationships. I still care as much for that "F" or "D" student as that "A" or "B" student. I'm not asking for a medal or anything. All I'm saying is that I agree with you to some degree and disagree with you in others.

Dr. Suellen Reed was an excellent State School Superintendent. I'm sorry that she's gone from office and that we now have Mitch Bennett in office.

Anonymous said...

Tony Bennett was a school superintendent before being elected the state superintendent. Every school in his district that he presided over was labeled a failing school.....if you can't improve your own small district, why should we think that he would have any impact on schools in the entire state.

Political Season said...

I don't feel qualified to talk about what should be the approach across the state, but in Indianapolis, deliberate expansion and improvement of the charter school system should be at the top of the list of strategies to turn public education around. The charter school approach attacks the education problem root to branch. A built out charter system can REPLACE the current traditional public school system.

In my view, there is simply not enough accountability in the traditional system. It is mediated through too many layers, insulated from its customers (parents) by too many barriers (school board, superintendent, teachers unions). Build out the charter system, drive accountability down to the individual school level and let competitive pressures provide the energy for educational improvement. It works. We miss the boat to not go in this direction.

Anonymous said...

The Indiana Department of Education is paying Barnes and Thornburg law firm $40,000 of taxpayer money to fight allegatons of violations of Equal Employment Opportunity laws by scores of public servants terminated WITHOUT CAUSE. Millions for defense but not one cent for salary. These losers need to go.

DJ said...

That is so ironic. Public servants have to pay for a lawyer to defend them, and they also pay their own tax dollars to pay for the lawyers of our increasingly socialistic Indiana Government. Brings new meaning to the term Indiana For Sale