Gov.-elect Mike Pence and Republican state representatives would love for us to believe that the sound defeat of state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett had nothing to do with his policies. What? That, of course, is all it had to do with.
Mr. Bennett was not beholden to any other policies besides those that affect education. A vote for Glenda Ritz was a vote against the aggressive, far-reaching and, I might add, destructive policies to public education. To simply dismiss these results as a personality conflict between him and the voters is far-reaching as well. There are many “strong” personalities in political office across our country, and many re-elected to their positions.
As an educator and parent, I am very concerned with the direction the governor and representatives want to take education. Enrollment in education departments across this state’s universities have dropped dramatically (up to 25 percent). College students are running away from a profession that guarantees less and expects much more. You might ask, “But what about merit pay?” You must understand that merit pay is a drop in the bucket and is only assured to those who teach in schools that do well on the ISTEP tests. It really is a case of the rich getting richer. With this in place, can we really expect the brightest and best minds to enter the education field?
The state’s systematic way of interpreting ISTEP results to determine a grade for a school is also troubling. We have seen schools in the VCSC go from an “A” to an “F” and vice versa in the past few years. The validity of such wide-ranging results needs to be scrutinized by the state. Is this a fair and accurate system?
Schools who stay in the lower category for too long face state sanctions and possible takeover by an outside agency hired by the state. If taken over, these schools are no longer a part of the school corporation and these charters have proven inferior to public schools. This, coupled with vouchers, is crippling school districts from serving the best interest of their students. With every dollar lost in these situations, the cost for the corporation goes unchanged.
As a teacher, I definitely need to be evaluated. Mr. Bennett and the state developed a tool to do that. Unfortunately, administrators and teachers alike have struggled to understand what exactly is expected. The instrument is very convoluted, making it difficult to follow and implement. It has ambiguous language that could jeopardize the evaluation of a teacher. Looking at the totality of changes at the state level, one begins to wonder if this is intentional. Fortunately, we have a great school board and superintendent who are working through this with us.
I hope Gov. Pence and the legislative supermajority stop the political spin and realize the loud voice of opposition to current education policy heard Nov. 6. Personally, I am so proud to be a teacher in the VCSC and look forward to meeting the needs of students in my classroom. My students are so much more to me than a standardized test score. Maybe someday they will be to the state as well.
— Jeff Maxwell
Since I have a right to own a gun (at least for the time being), should the government supply me, at no charge, the ammunition for it?
— Mark Burns
RONN MOTT: Mushrooms = Hoosier happiness
Someone wrote or said a few years ago a statement that would define the word “Hoosier.” According to this urban legend, a Hoosier is somebody dribbling a basketball around the Indy 500 while eating a fried, morel mushroom. It did not define me, at the time.
EDITORIAL: Insult to an independent press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.
READERS' FORUM: May 17, 2013
Hinduism doesn’t deserve ridicule — Shefali Purohit, Terre Haute
RONN MOTT: Israel’s Air Force
Recently the Israeli Air Force bombed and rocketed a convoy leaving Syria going to Lebanon with rockets that were going to be used to attack Israel. It did not get there. It was destroyed.
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news: Dashing finish for the Sycamores
It’s always thrilling to see Indiana State University’s athletic teams do well in high-level competition, and two specific teams rose to impressive heights last weekend in the Missouri Valley Conference outdoor track and field championships.
Readers' Forum: May 16, 2013
Moving Deming folks sounds ‘nuts’
Readers' Forum: May 15, 2013
Participants rise to the challenge: I would like to write a letter congratulating all the Wabash Valley Roadrunners that competed in the One America Indianapolis Mini Marathon.
RONN MOTT: Media merry-go-round
Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. That isn’t a unique phrase to this writer or to this era in time. But, when it comes to the musical chairs of broadcasting, it certainly applies.
LIZ CIANCONE: Courts see a different appearance than cops
Have you ever noticed the transformation between the arrest of an accused lawbreaker and the first appearance in court?
READERS' FORUM: May 14, 2013
ISTEP failure exposes flaws
Community hasn’t changed its spirit
Egregious threat to nation’s defense
READERS' FORUM: May 13, 2013
• Women’s group criticizes Bucshon
• Let’s hope this doesn’t come true
• Many get thanks for fest success
MARK BENNETT: Life at face value: Mom’s simple advice still presents a valuable daily challenge
Most moms don’t base their advice on scientific research.
(Unless, of course, your mother is a scientific researcher. If so, carry a No. 2 pencil and take good notes.)
EDITORIAL: Better monitoring needed to prevent local environmental messes
The nasty, hazardous messes lurking in the community raise a bottom-line, red-flag question. Could these environmental problems have been monitored and, thus, prevented?
GUEST COLUMN: Nursing more than medicine and bandages
Being a nurse … Like most nurses, I chose this profession because I had a strong desire to help others and no other career would allow me the opportunity to touch lives the way I have been able to through nursing.
READERS' FORUM: May 12, 2013
Vigo Youth Football, entering 45th year, seeks new support
Media ignoring important case on abortions
Proud to be old-fashioned
Guns in school? What’s next?
Promoting hate not a ‘brave’ act
FLASHPOINT: Again in 2013 General Assembly, middle class generally ignored
Last year, the people of Indiana entrusted the Republican Party with some of their most precious possessions.
RONN MOTT: ‘Raccoons II’
In the Algonquin Indian language, raccoon means “working with hands.” They are really cute little fellows until they injure a child, or a pet, or leave feces around where you certainly do not want it.
Readers’ Forum: May 11, 2013
I just wanted to express my disappointment at the lack of response shown by President Obama after the Boston Marathon bombings.
Readers' Forum: May 10, 2013
CANDLES event plants new seed: On April 26, CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center hosted an event called “Sowing Seeds of Peace: A Celebration of Spring” at the Apple House. Our purpose was to introduce people to our concept of forgiveness as a seed for peace.
RONN MOTT: ‘NRA Convention’
At the recent NRA Convention in Houston, Texas, where the right-wing political hot air almost lifted the convention's building off its foundation, the NRA trotted out the forever yours political dame of the right wing, Sarah Palin. Sarah did not disappoint.
EDITORIAL: Memo to U.S.A.: You can ‘SPPRAK’ just as we do in Vigo County
Our kids, truly, are ‘Making a Difference’
Some words in praise of boring government — Indiana’s
A conservative Republican governor has super majorities in both branches of the legislature. One might suspect such one-party government leads to major changes in public policy. This did not happen in 2013 in Indiana.
EDITORIAL: Doc’s prescient prescription
Viewed through a 2013 prism, Doc Bowen’s response to the AIDS epidemic looks merely prudent, routine.
RONN MOTT: ‘Heritage gone’
The last high school I attended was being torn down just a few days ago. I didn't learn about it until I saw classmate Dick Mills on television and a display he had put together about State football championships in the middle 1930's. I began elementary school with Dick Mills. That was Matthew South Elementary School on South Sixth Street in Clinton, Indiana. After seeing Dick on TV, it dawned on me that all schools I had attended in Clinton have been torn down.
LIZ CIANCONE: We always want more than we need
Washington seems more preoccupied with the unemployment rate than they are about the constant stalemate. Still with thousands out of work and the unemployment rate hovering somewhere between 7 percent and 9 percent, it does deserve more than a passing nod.
FLASHPOINT: Indiana lawmakers reinforced school safety mechanisms
Nothing is more important to me than the safety of my children. Every parent has felt that instant, apprehensive rush when their child plays too close to the street or falls down while playing soccer and it is our responsibility as parents to implement every safety mechanism we can muster to protect our kids.
READERS’ FORUM: May 6, 2013
• Money drives our newfound ‘needs’
• Guns not the only dangerous objects
MARK BENNETT: Should I stay or should I go?
Some have their Bill Clinton-era Cavalier packed (with the trunk bungee-ed shut), apartment cleaned (except for the fridge), and iPhone GPS locked onto the fastest route out of Terre Haute. Others are staying — until they find a better job, or because they’re starting a career here, or because this town feels like home. In each case, a new stage of life begins today.
EDITORIAL: Education remains worth the cost
Within the next few weeks, each of the local colleges will have conducted graduation ceremonies. A few days later, a different Class of 2013 will don caps and gowns for commencement — the seniors at five Vigo County high schools. It is still a smart, worthy aspiration for those high school grads to replicate the achievement of those college students by earning a higher-education degree.
College Class of '13 gets a little extra advice
Local college grads will hear commencement speakers offer life and career advice this month. We’re offering them an extra dose here from folks who’ve found success in various vocations and regions of the nation. Many have Terre Haute roots.
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