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 what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

ADVERTISEMENT