IBJOpinion

Education bills deserve scrutiny

March 5, 2011
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
IBJ Letters To The Editor

In “Tough love for public education” [a column in the Feb. 14 issue, Greg Morris makes] several excellent points. The educational challenges are complicated, high-performing school districts want to continue current programs and there’s always the risk that opposition will be misinterpreted as complaints from “underperformers.”

Regarding consensus and change, there’s considerable consensus locally on what needs to be done to improve education (e.g., targeted preschool and all-day compulsory kindergarten). Where it’s lacking is on the top-down state initiatives that seek to pit teacher against teacher and school against school.

Forced changes generally fail. Consensus cannot be achieved through force. To be effective, changes must have everyone’s ownership. Successful schools like ours embrace change by using the statutory discussion requirement to gain and share knowledge, interest-based collective bargaining to reach agreements, and comprehensive contract language to ensure compliance by both parties. Banning corporate discussion and collective bargaining of working conditions, as currently proposed, thwarts improvements and complicates acceptance of changes.

I don’t agree that the governor and state superintendent are being demonized, but I will agree that many teachers view them as adversaries of public schools. It hasn’t always been that way. The Indiana State Teachers Association supported [Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony] Bennett’s predecessor, [Suellen] Reed, and not only embraced the school-improvement changes in Public Law 221 but worked actively to gain their acceptance locally.

The public school system is not failing. The vast majority of public schools are meeting students’ needs well. Backed by supportive parents and community leaders, these schools are demonstrating that the solution to today’s education challenges is total community involvement that addresses societal as well as education shortfalls.

The Indiana Department of Education stresses the need for differentiated instruction to meet varying student needs, but the state superintendent wants to subject all school corporations to one-size-fits-all programs that diminish or eliminate local control, undermine corporation fiscal stability and discourage talented teachers from remaining in the profession.

Furthermore, the Daniels administration’s apparent “union-busting” efforts and initiatives to cut public schools to channel tax dollars to discriminatory, for-profit and/or parochial schools (in direct violation of the Indiana Constitution) will damage, not help, public schools.

I encourage all Hoosiers to challenge their legislators to clarify how new education bills will directly benefit students. If they divert funding from public schools, undermine teacher input to decisions, create a “Me Tarzan, You Jane” administrator-teacher relationship, remove recourse against unscrupulous supervisors, deny employee due process and interfere with efforts to attract into and retain major wage-earners in the teaching profession, they should be defeated.

__________

Wayne Shipe
Teacher
Westfield Washington School Corp.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Forced Changes
    Thank you Wayne Shipe for clear and concise reasons for opposing the Daniels/Bennett proposals to reform education. True education reform must come from within the educational system and at the local level. This can only be achieved by collaboration among the educatiors who really do understand the needs of the children they teach. Government interference in local school decisions and policy making doesn't seem to fit the Republican goal to reduce government interferance in our daily lives. Teachers are hard working and dedicated to helping children. They do not need to be villified by attacking the very organizations that support them in making improvements at the local level. I too encourage voters to let their legislators know that one-size-fits-all educational planning does not work. We need to keep the political rhetoric out of educational decisions on education.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

  2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

  3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

  4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

  5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?

ADVERTISEMENT