HENDERSON: The great school massacre of 2011

Tom Henderson
February 5, 2011
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LeCrone mugWhat a great way to slime our public school education infrastructure: educational vouchers.

We moan and complain about schools, administrators and teachers—and of course, their cost. We change their funding appropriation, squeezing, ever squeezing, until some school systems simply pop. Mandates—be they federal, state, county or district—hang over administrator’s heads. Every parent wants to get the best education for their children. Vouchers aren’t going to do this. Instead, they’re going to help destroy public schools, perhaps for generations.

Part of the vouchers rationale is an overt attempt to bust teacher unions. How droll. Teacher unions are made out to be great blood-sucking satans, ready to wave their employment and pension contract rules in front of you, rather than educate your children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Teachers cost money. It’s time to face that fact and attract the best teachers we can find. Buildings don’t teach. Multimillion-dollar football stadiums don’t teach. Teachers teach. And they cost money.

I watched my six brothers and sisters, along with my six children and stepchildren, make it through Indiana public school systems. They’ve done very well. Their list of accomplishments is long. The Indiana Legislature slaps the very face of every hard-working teacher, administrator and student by embracing the thought that people will run like there’s a fire from the public school systems into the waiting arms of “better schools.”

Somehow, a local reality distortion field appeared that proffered the mistaken belief that education is like business and can be outcomes-based, as though children were little profit centers. Educational processes aren’t like business processes. Educational goals are unique to every individual and are measured using a vastly different set of metrics and personal motivations.

Since the inception of the great state of Indiana, we’ve guaranteed a free and public education to students. In Indianapolis, we finally delivered that guarantee in the 1970s to African-American students by desegregating Indianapolis Public Schools. An opposition platform to busing to achieve desegregation at that time was known as the “Neighborhood Schools” platform. School vouchers have a chance of backsliding desegregation, as especially in the surrounding counties, neighborhoods are mightily segregated. Welcome back, Jim Crow.

I arrived into this life on the day when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its Brown vs. Kansas City Board of Education decision, which declared that the tenet of separate-but-equal education was unconstitutional. Vouchers are highly likely to fragment education “purchases” into racial and socio-economic factions. Part of the gift of public—and therefore publicly funded—education is to be with people who aren’t like you, from different cultures and backgrounds, and later in college education, different communities, states and countries. Don’t even think about the constitutionality of using vouchers for parochial schools. We’ve been through that.

Our Stars-and-Bars legislative mentality would have us decimate public schools, bust those pesky unions and spawn dozens of schools—rather than uplift our investment in public schools by giving them needed and consistent funding and mission. We might do the public-school constituents a favor and fund teacher and administrator pensions, but that might be asking too much. Heaven forbid that we should raise taxes to meet our pension-funding needs in the way Illinois has done.

Instead, let’s show Illinois businesses how cheap it is to be in Indiana. We don’t need any of those pesky obligations funded. We squeeze schools until our children are stupid enough to work in your factories for minimum wages! No goals toward environmental responsibility and sustainability here. Just park your business and we’ll be happy to leech our little crumbs from the taxes your employees will have to pay.

The mind reels.•


Henderson is managing director of ExtremeLabs Inc., a Bloomington computer analysis firm.


  • well
    It's not in your union contract!
  • vouchers/taxes
    People have paid taxes for how many years? Why do Those that send their children to private schools think that since they CHOSE to send their children to a private school they shouldn't have to pay taxes? This is a choice that was made!!

    Has anyone thought about the effects of the voucher system? This is a system set up to basically fund private schools with public money! Should public money go to private schools? How long until the government tells them what to do? When this happens there won't be any private schools.
    Black Bart seems to be the Black sheep!
    This whole thing is so obvious. The republicans want to just break the unions. Rush stated on his program yesturday that the teachers union gives x amount of money to the democrats. So, if the republicans can break the unions then the democrats won't be able to receive any money from them. SO WERE THE REPUBLICANS PUT IN OFFICE TO MAKE SURE DEMOCRATS DO NOT RECEIVE MONEY BECAUSE THIS IS THE ONLY THING THEY ARE WORKING ON?
  • No Vouchers for You
    Robert, While I understand why you think you deserve vouchers, unless your children are already attending public schools for 2 full semesters, your family will not qualify.
  • reality
    I went to school back in the 60's and the government and unions wasn't involve. Kids were taught basic math, english, history,science, and we had physical education. Now we got these so called teachers that don't teach the kids much of anything except spanish in the 1st grade, how to run a computer, and sex education which should be left at home. What happened to the teaching methods of old. You teachers want more money, more benefits, more days off, and cost of living increases. I've never had a kid go to the public schools, so why should I have to pay taxes for you and someone else's kid to go to a broken down education system that'll never improve. It's all political.
  • Permissions needed
    I grant permission, but it's up to the IBJ to do so. Email their editors for their vote. And if it means anything, I went to 10th St School in Jasper 1960-1966.
  • Permission to reprint
    Mr. Henderson,
    I am a public school teacher in southern Indiana. Would you grant us permission to submit your article for print in our local paper? http://www.dcherald.com and http://www.ferdinandnews.com Thank you for a great article!
    • Home Page Voucher Poll
      I'm not a teacher, and I'm guessing that the teachers unions DIDN'T pack that poll. The legislature has to face facts. We didn't get here alone. Vouchers aren't the right solution. Complaining about teacher pay isn't the solution. Consistent funding, tax base and revenue expectation and forecasting along with carrots do the job.
    • Agreed!!
      Great summation!

      At what point, I wonder, did education turn from caring about children-children in the classrooms to caring about adult-children in the teachers unions?
    • Let's stack the poll!
      Note the teachers unions are up to their dirty tricks, stacking the IBJ poll on page one.
    • Pensions
      I won't have retirement money when I'm 65, either. Welcome to the club. But I knew that, and you knew that. The teachers signed up at low wages to do a grueling job with children that are a mix of good and not so good. They were guaranteed a pension, just like those in the US Armed Forces. It meant something to them. We'd take care of them. Except we didn't.

      Illinois had horrible difficulties, and some of them led to needing to raise taxes. Mark my words: we'll need to find some way to meet our obligations that will hurt, because we've been putting off pension funding in a way that's completely insane. Want to change them? Fine, but a deal is a deal, and we're obligated to our word and should put our money where our word is.
    • One more thing
      Mr. Henderson, I respect your opinion, but I am from Illinois originally and have many relatives still there. While it is true they have raised taxes to fund their pension plans, it is also widely known that the state of Illinois is woefully bankrupt and on its way to insolvency. Our Governor Daniels has done an excellent job of fending off the legislture from spending every darn dime they could get their hands on. Who said I have to fund the teachers pension anyway? Nobody is funding mine but me, a small business owner. And frankly, I'm not sure I will be able to retire anywhere near 65 years old. Again, thanks to the politicians wisdom. Please, please, stop spending my money on frivolous bulls#@%!!!
      • Vouchers Needed
        We live on the north side in the IPS district. We made the choice early on to send our 4 children to parochial schools. Our son was in need of speech therapy early in his academic career, so we took him to the IPS school down the street because that is where we had to go to avoid costly private tutoring. After sitting in the hallway for 20 minutes twice each week, I was able to just listen in on the environment of this school. The attitudes and language of the students were very pervasive and disrespectful to all of the dedicated adults that are there to mold these young people into productive citizens of our community. There was more disruptions due to discipline than learning going on. I have never regretted the extra costs of sending my kids to private schiools. I do not make a huge amount of money, but as a taxpayer, I believe the vouchers should be available to me to offset the costs of private school. My kids are doing wonderful in school and life. It is not because of any teacher, but instead because of the sacrifices we have made to afford to take them out of that environment and put them where they can concentrate on learning and not have to put up with the pervasivness of these children who, unfortunately, do not have committed parents to see them through with love and discipline. All of my children have or will attend private high schools as well as go on to college, one having already achieved her MBA in 4 1/2 years and another in college now. I attended North Central and have done just fine, but the township schools are not where the problem lies, it is with IPS. The money from my property taxes is being ladled into that system and my children do not benefit from it at all. We drive used cars and barely make it sometimes. We are behind right now in our tuition payments mostly because of this crummy national economy. Vouchers would help greatly. It is not all about politics but REALITY. Give me a choice with MY money!!
        • Little sympathy
          I think I'd have more sympathy for the teachers and their beloved unions if they allowed even an iota of flexibility. Instead, their contracts run dozens of pages and mandate even the most trivial of details.

          Enter charter schools - parents, once faced with no choice but to continue send their children to the same failing school - now have an OPTION to go elsewhere.

          This is what scares the teachers unions so much - CHOICE! It's a novel concept and I'm not surprised to see it roundly criticized by a whole host of entrenched interests.

          Of course the author can't resist the temptation to make this a race issue, with not one bit of evidence to show why expanding choice would result in increased segregation. In fact, the likely result is that many low-income minorities will now be able to attend high performing schools that are majority-white. Why are you so set to keep those less fortunate locked into the same failing school systems. The mind reels.

          Kudos to the governor, our legislators and education superintendent for thinking outside of the box and granting families a release from their educational prison.
          • paid
            Maybe you should have attended a private school.
          • spell check
            When I was a teacher we didn't have spell check so we had to know that the head administrator of a school is a "principal", not a "principle".
          • Educate yourself
            I totally agree the experts are the teachers and they are not asked for input. The great Dr. Edwards Deming validated that poor performance is systemic and 90% of the problem is attributed to a poor process, not the people perfoming the work process. I have been a teacher for 23 years, with many awards for performance excellence yet no adminstrator other than my wonderful principle asks my advice. It seriously wrong that school administrators and school boards long removed from the classroom use nonsensicle performance metrics to evaluate teacher effectiveness. As the last blogger stated, spend a week in a teacher classroom and then you'll have a paradigm shift in your thinking. The good teachers understand the root causes to poor performance which is significantly rooted in poor parenting and administrators who come up with solutions that are the newest fad. Remember that people tend to support what they create, unfortunately those creating the solutions are'nt the experts. The teachers who have 5000 hours or more of teaching experience are the experts. Why don't you ask them for the solution for once. You;ll be suprised at how uncomplicated the solution can be.
            • Inflammatory
              We're becoming the worst part of the South. Long ago, my ancestors fought the idea that slavery and separate-but-equal was a good thing. Diluting school budgets by offering parents funds to take their children out of the public school system into dubious charter schools, cripples public schools. Worse, schools will factionalize along racial and socio-economic and cultural lines. Already, charter schools are seeing this trend. We're obligated to fund PUBLIC schools, not private ones, and not parochial ones. It's in our Indiana Constitution, and our rule of law. Busting teachers unions is the wrong idea-- they need protection from the whimsies of local school corporations. They need their pensions funded. They need support, not the back of a hand.
            • Public Schools are a Given
              Competition in the private and parochial sector are absolutely welcome! The catch is: you'll have to pay for them separately from the taxes you pay for public school infrastructure. As a baseline, we guarantee every pupil in Indiana, constitutionally, to a free and public education. It should be a great one. If you want to send your child to a private or parochial school-- fine! It's on your own nickel, however. My grandfather payed for a year for me at Brebeuf, which is a great school-- I did very well. The next year I went to Arlington HS-- also a very good school. It costs real money to make schools work. You'll need to pay over and above what public school education costs you in terms of tax dollars. If you need to work harder to afford it, that's your choice. I sent my children and step-children to Washington Twp Schools and they did wonderfully. I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
              • who will use vouchers?
                I went to public school, my wife went to public school and my kids go to public school. I understand that any diverting of state funds to private schools will impact funding of public schools and their ability to provide quality programs. That said, I sort of disagree with the premise that competition in education is bad. I'm also not certain that parents who have paid into the public school system, but who choose private, shouldn't see some portion of the education taxes they have paid help toward their child's education. If the private schools are not as good as the public schools (as the article implies and numerous comments indicate), then who will use the vouchers? I really hope that most parents would choose the school that best meets their childrens' educational needs and not let other racial and socio-economic components factor into this. Without too many insults, can someone address this?
                • Just a question
                  If you have never spent a week in a classroom, if you have never looked at state standards, if you have never followed a teacher around for 1 day, you really have no room to make any comments, in my humble opinion. It is easy for anyone in the public to comment. But, it is like voting--if you don't vote--you can't complain. If you haven't spent time in a public education classroom, who truly have NO IDEA what is happening. I'm tired of hearing the complaints of people who "believe" they know the situation. LIVE A DAY IN OUR SHOES AND THEN I WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS. What happened to asking the experts? Teachers are experts in their field. They are living this environment every day!! If you need medical advice, you would go and ask your doctor what to do. Why are we not asking the teachers???????? Perhaps it is because our society does not value a good educator....
                  • THANK YOU!
                    Thank you Tom Henderson for this article! As a teacher, I am deeply saddened by what is happening to the public education system in this state. Unfortunately, we have people making decisions about education who have never stepped inside of a classroom, who only look at the education system as a "money-maker", and who fail to see our students as anything except a number. Teachers work EXTREMELY hard--often putting in extra hours they are not paid for, using every ounce of minutes in their days to do what is best for students. We are some of the most educated professionals with one of the most important jobs for a society. We not only teach the enormous amounts of standards to our students, but we also teach them how to be better citizens, how to reach goals, etc. Education is perhaps the one area that can make the BIGGEST impact in a student's life. Why does our government not get this? Shame on them.
                  • Agree with Mr. Wessler
                    I agree that the comment about "stars and bars mentality" is inflammatory. Many people right now, especially in this discussion, are calling Indiana the northern most of the southern states. How sad. And a slap in the face. Rhetoric like this is not needed. My belief is - if you're in a losing fight, you start calling names. You state that vouches will destroy public schools, but don't offer a compelling arguement as to why. You make a lot of points without much explanation. I support teachers, but change is needed. Let's find common ground.
                    • Fault?
                      It's not Gov Daniels' fault, and it's not as simple as simply finding fault and flipping a switch to correct the problem. Instead, what I cite is 1) inconsistent funding and mission 2) knee jerk "let's fix it and move on" attitude 3) corrupting the value of our public educational infrastructure 4) dissing the current infrastructure-- especially teachers and teacher unions and 5) believing that marketplace competition is "the answer".

                      Children aren't profit centers, and enlightened education success mandates motivation, aspiration, accommodating diverse needs, and having a carrot at the end of a stick. Punishing public schools isn't the answer. Seeking complex guidance to difficult and sophisticated problems takes brainpower, not market-based education is the start to turning around public school outcomes. One mountain at a time.....
                    • Mitch
                      It may not be Mitch's fault, but it's not the teachers' faults either. So let's think about this a little further. Whose fault is it then? Shouldn't students be held a little bit accountable for their own educations?
                      • Hungry students
                        I am sick and tire of hearing how hungry students are. They are given free breakfast and free lunch. Students are not hungry when they are in class.
                      • Money
                        If students are unmotivate, hungry, and absent. How is that Mith's fault? How will more money help that situtation?
                        • For Blacksheep
                          I should clarify, my comments are directed at Blacksheep, not the author of this article.
                        • PROOFREAD, Professor
                          Hmmm, maybe you have neglected to teach them the value of proof-reading their work, teacher? PLEASE, at least tell me you are not an English teacher...
                          • Thank you.
                            Teacher of 20 years all in public schools and in one of those reported to be the worst in the state. I know that does not mean the 100s of teachers in the system where I teach are bad, money-hoarding, lazy people. Most teachers didn't become teachers for the tidy salary. Most put up with students with more problems than any talkshow ever knew existed, and parents who haven't got a clue of how to raise their own kids, or enforce some sense of work ethic or respect for an education. Yet we are hearing that our state wants to label a teacher incompetent if a student comes late to school, misbehaves in class, or doesn't do his or her homework. These problems evidently mean we are stupid and incompetent educators. It's insanity to think teachers alone with no back up can ever, ever accomplish perfection with our imperfect students. When have we ever truly expected this kind of outcome? This is crazy. We're going to kill our schools, fire our teachers, and close the doors on public education as we know it. Then we'll send out kids to other "new" schools with "new" teachers with no idea how to teach, but can somehow keep all the students sitting in neat rows, no talking, no moving, no life, no heart, no passion. Yeah. And parents who still don't back you up. Good luck with that, Mitch.
                          • None
                            No one can teach students even if they are present IF THEY DO NOT SEE THE VALUE IN LEARNING. I taught for thirty years and retired in 1999. Too many educators think they have a panacea for what ails Indiana's
                            pathetic student achievement. Place the blame where most of it belongs---on the students' shoulders. What a novel idea. The last ISD of Ed Superintendent was a farce and this new one is even worse. I happen to be a Republican, also. They both are duping our legislators about Education.
                            Unions have with the demise of our system, too. My school system lowered its standards seven times in thirty years. Not a thing I could do about it. Good luck with your pursuit.
                          • one mistake in your article
                            You made one glaring error in your article. NOT every parent wants a good education for their children. Otherwise, why would you send your child hungry, angry, sleepy, apathetic, defensive, disrespectful, sick, anxious, dirty, ill-mannered, defiant, and with incomplete assignments to a classroom day after day after day? Those attributes of a student's interest in education have nothing to do with a household's financial situation. They are a direct reflection of the student's parent's attitude toward education, which a teacher cannot overcome.

                            I'm so tired of teachers being the only people blamed for poor student performance. So very tired of it. When, oh, when are we going to hold the parents/household environment at least partially accountable for a student's lack of progress? Children at home 18 hours of every school day, after all, and all weekend, and all those vacation days out of school.
                          • Thanks Mr. Henderson
                            What a voice of sanity. 32 of Indiana's lowest 50 school systems, based on ISTEP, are charter schools.

                            Of the top 100 schools, one is a charter school...in Columbus. This is Mr. Daniel's improvement plan?

                            You can check this info on the DOE website...unless Mitch has directed Tony Bennett to edit the data.

                            The voucher money will also be available for church schools. I understood that the US Constitution in the greatest country on Earth prohibited this.

                            Between many various religious affiliations and many new charter schools, how factionalized will Indiana become? This is in a tough times when we need to be working together to move our state forward.

                            This plan will direct needed money away from the public schools where 90% of Indiana kids attend, and send it to schools where 10% of Indiana students attend. It amounts to an elitist plan which will create special schools for "gated communities".

                            Public schools are currently the one place where affluent kids learn how to work with people of different socio-economic and culture groups. They will need this experience in the workplace and in life.

                          • war needed
                            maybe funding would be easier to come by if there was some kind of war going on, related to public schools of course. maybe "war on illiteracy".

                            maybe mitch needed a better education himself. he's the one who had estimated the cost of the iraq war at 50 to 60 billion when working in the bush admin, as the White House Office of Management and Budget Director. Seems like it's too late for him.

                            agree 100% that the main problem is with these folks' view that almost every institution should be run like a business. once loyalty is to profit, all other relationships take second place. as the one to your community, city, state, country, and all its children. and their education. and these are the folks who like to run on patriotism.

                          • Thank you Tom!
                            Tom, I would like to say as a teacher of 28 years who has always found his job both challenging and a joy, it is nice to read that someone out there is sane and understands the plight of educators in the public school system. I, often despair at the tone, lack of understand and general hatred that the State House seems to have for Indiana's educators. I find it very hard to find the motivation to go in day to day and continue doing the best I can to educate those placed in my care. There are days I yearn for the "good old days" of twenty eight years ago..yet I am real enough to know that those means of educating will not work with todays youth. I believe the issues is a societal one being fosted unfairly being fosted on the backs of educators. I recently had cause to go back and look at why I had so many failing grades in one of the two classes I teach...mind you the other three sections were typical college prep students and had have very nice grade distibution. The other three classes were nothing to be happy about but when compiling my data several things became very evident. First, a large number, perhaps 50%, of my failing students had at least three F's besides mine on their report cards. Secondly, a large number of them had missed more than have the grading period. Finally, when comparing pre/post test scores for the semester many students had made gains of between 20 and 30% most and one made a 60% gain. However when you look at how low the intial scores are it is no wonder why so few past their EOC tests.
                            The conclusion I reached is simply this I cannot teach them if they are not there and cronic absence issues are destroying us all.
                            • Charter Schools
                              Just to confirm your comment about the lack of accountability in charter schools and their unqualified teachers; I worked for a local university with their teacher licensure programs for over two years and was astounded by what I saw in the charter schools. My examples include, but are not limited to, charter school teachers (and I stress the plural) who were not admittable to the licensure program because they couldn't pass Praxis I (general skills exam), a student teaching 7th grade math who's only college math credit was a "D" in pre-algebra (and a few F's and WF's during his attempts at Algebra I), and an elementary school teacher who did not even have a bachelor's degree. Therefore, it sickens me that politicians nationwide (including our president) feel charter schools deserve special privilages to determine what "best meets the needs of their students" while traditional public schools are singled out and sucked dry. At this rate, these "reforms" will turn what used to be an overall competent public school system into the incompentent shell that politicians seem to believe exists now.

                              Open your eyes folks. Education is too complex of an issue to solve through such business-centered models. Also, Governor Daniels, you seem to believe that the teachers and unions are resistant to change. Remember, change isn't always for the better when ill-conceived. Think health care.
                            • "Pike, Wash., Warren, and Wayne townships seem to be doing really well."
                              I am a public school teacher in one of the above listed township schools....
                              I can only speak for my own township, but we are facing just as many obstacles as IPS. Budget cuts, AYP mandates (with no funding), overcrowded classrooms, and narrowing curriculum to "focus on the test."

                              This is not helping our students become engaged and productive members of our community.

                              Today's students need smaller class sizes so that they can build stronger relationships with overworked teachers.

                              Teachers need to be seen as the committed professionals that they are. Sure, there are teachers that are not up to par - but these teahchers also exist within private and charter schools. Taking funding away from schools that primarily serve our marginalized students is not going to fix this problem.

                              Until all of our public schools are on equal footing, funds should not be diverted to schools that face decreased regulation (and produce no better results).

                            • you are being sold a bridge...
                              You bettter believe race is an issue AND so will economic level! Those vouchers they are talking about will NOT cover the cost of most private schools - especially the elite ones. And as for Charter schools they will not pay accordingly - when they have free reign to run their business they will pack kids in those classrooms and expect to pay teachers what our day care workers make ( another tragedy). Charters can also pick who to educate - public education is legally bound to educate ALL. A charter can get rid of any kid who may not be making the testing cut. It comes down to this - in America we do not value our children overall - it will get everyone angry and mad when politicians cry help our kids, but there is only a small fraction who will really fight for our kids care and education. People act like cutting pay to teachers will solve their states ills, but that is only a fraction of the overall budget. Part of the problem is a lot of states are getting close to falling off the pension cliff - states have been borrowing from pension funds for years and they know they may have some huge problems coming up. If they break the unions they do not have to worry as much about covering legal obligations. They will STILL take your taxes - maybe build some extra stadiums!
                            • Bias
                              Why does it make a differece because these other schools that you speak of, charter schools, often times hire professionals with no education credentials or sometimes college degrees. That should make a difference to parents when they want the choice of public or something else. Charter schools are not held accountable and therefore have the lowest percentage of ISTEP scores in the state. Yes, lower than public schools so what's the difference? Public education and the teachers you speak of who are looking for a compensation package, work above and beyond to see that all children receive equal education. I know of no teacher, in my 10+ years in education, that teaches for the pay or the pension. I teach because its my passion and because I have students who return to my classroom year after year to tell me how they've grown into a successful young adult. So it's not all about teachers for us it's about our students and their futures.
                            • Indiana, Then Where Next?
                              I'm a teacher in the Long Beach area of Los Angeles, who was born, raised and educated in Indiana. Our district is considered to be one of the best in the country, and that fact itself scares me as we see it all the time - cutbacks giving students more and more power as we have less and less options. But one option no one wants is vouchers.

                              It's tough enough in the schools as is. We get the students we get, and for their presence the school (and district) gets funding.

                              Take out those who can afford the exodus away from public instruction, and our schools and systems become that much weaker. It's a no brainer, sort of what appears to now sit at the top of Hoosierville's government. Your situation is now very sad, and we can only hope "the Indiana people" will find a way to overcome the absurdity, not further destroying the educational system in Indiana, while perhaps enticing other politically-motivated state "leaders" to follow suit.

                              I'm proud of my Indiana education, but am truly heartbroken for the little Hoosiers on the way up (or "trying" to be on the way up).
                            • What is the big deal
                              Why does it matter? Kids will go to school regardless, and those schools will have to pay teachers. Supply and demand will dictate what they are willing to pay them. Don't like the compensation package? Don't accept the job. If a school is underperforming, parents should have every right to pull their kids out and get them enrolled somewhere suitable. I can't believe the author would try and make this a racial issue. Your bias is obvious.
                              • Thank you
                                Thank you for your article. I attended the rally at the State House on Tuesday and I have never felt more proud to be a public school teacher. The malicious comments expressed by the Governor following the rally clearly show that he does not care about what is good for our children. He only wants to ââ?¬Å?save moneyââ?¬Â? by getting rid of qualified Indiana educators. Charter schools and vouchers are just a smoke screen for his true agenda, which is to say to the rest of the country- See, I will be a great president because I know how to balance a budget. And the result of our balanced budget? Truly uneducated and unproductive citizens, higer taxes to support them, and a truly failing educational system. How can that possibly be good for any of us? But that doesn't matter to Mitch Daniels. When his term is up, I imagine he will leave Indiana behind and never look back.
                              • God bless you, sir!
                                As a public school teacher, I thank you for your wise comments and compassionate support. I worked in the private sector between teaching gigs, and took a pay cut to come back. Most teachers are the hardest workers I've ever been around. (And Martin Dragonette, do come back! It'll be nice to see you again:)
                              • Schools in Marion County
                                are hanging on, especially in the townships. I put six kids thru North Central; they're all doing well. IPS is in trouble, and you can get an inkling regarding quality by looking at demographics and iSTEP scores. Pike, Wash., Warren, and Wayne townships seem to be doing really well.
                                • Is Moving from AZ to IN a good thing???
                                  I am considering moving back to Indiana from Arizona and am concerned about what I will find. I was publically educated at North Central and IUPUI and had fantastic teachers/professors. These educators are smart and if you "move their cheese" they will follow and you will have small charter schools popping up right and left that will not uniformally properly educate the youth of the state. Meanwhile the state will be depleting the public school system of quality teachers and funding. Simple question legislators: How can this be good? Not sure I want to sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" under those circumstances.
                                  • hotheads / no cred
                                    Well said Mr Wessler.
                                  • Thank you
                                    I've been an educator for 17 years. This week I have been ready to check out, but there are no other jobs in Indiana to go to. Governor Daniels, I voted for you and helped put you into office, and now you are trying to put me out of my job. You say we make too much money. What is it that you want? I still owe $5,000 on my '07 used Chevy, but you can have it. My wardrobe is made up from Target, Walmart, Plato's Closet, and hand-me downs, but you can have it. I bring my lunch to work everyday, usually a PBJ sandwich, but it's yours. My 13 year old home in Madison County might be worth what we owe on it now, but again, take it.
                                    It's not enough that I worry about sending two of our four children to college, have a child in high school, and one in junior high. It's not enough that I worry about paying the "deductibles" on our ever increasing health insurance and prescription costs ... did I mention that my spouse is disabled? It's not enough that I worry about the students that I teach who come to me with very serious problems at home. Now, I can also worry about my job, as the sole bread winner in our household. Thank you, Governor Daniels, that you have confirmed what my counselor has been telling me for over a year ... my life is filled with toxic stress. Yes, it exists, and it exists right here in Indiana. I've always been proud to be a Hoosier and call Indiana home.
                                    Thank you Mr. Henderson for writing the article. At least someone out there cares. It is not our Governor or Superintendent of Schools.
                                  • Thank You
                                    Thank you so much, Mr. Henderson. I'm sure many in the legislature read the IBJ - as they propose a business model for education, and I hope they listen to YOU... Let's hope they also listen to the teachers as they rally at the State House today!
                                  • Thank You
                                    Thank you so much for your insightful and supportive article. We need influential voices like yours to speak for us. The Governor and Dr. Bennett are obviously not listening to the voices of educational experts; maybe they will listen to a business source.
                                  • Where does the madness end?
                                    I have been a public school teacher for 32 years and a local teacher union leader for 24 of those, and I make no apologies for my actions during those years as a teacher or a union representative. I've seen how hard teachers, including myself, work every day in their classrooms to provide a quality education to their students. Now our Governor wants to take away collective bargaining, due process and basically all rights of our public school teachers in the name of better education, and add insult to injury by promoting vouchers. This has absolutely nothing to do with improving public education but with breaking the ISTA (teacher union) and paying teachers less and taking away all rights. Vouchers are not the answer. That just provides more inequality in education and destroys public schools as we know them. The rhetoric coming from Mitch and Tony is that we need the "brightest and best" teachers in the classrooms. Well, wait until Mitch and Tony get their way and see the mass exodus from the classrooms of the "brightest and best" teachers to retirement and other occupations. The mechanism for removing bad teachers from the classroom is already in place, and has been for many years, so don't use that as an excuse. Additionally, why would any student looking for a career even consider going into education knowing that they are going to graduate facing a pile of student loans and a dismal outlook for income thanks to the Mitch and Tony plan. Hopefully enough of our legislators will see how ludicrous this is before irreparable damage is done to our public schools.
                                  • We must disagree.
                                    Mr Wesseler, we disagree. I haven't shutdown the discussion. I do believe that Indiana has become the northern most southern state. I believe we have assumed the identity of Alabama. I'm not a talk show host; I loathe most of them. I haven't heard your viewpoint. Please state it, rather than accuse me of making them, and who is this 'we' you're talking about? Slander is only true, sir, if the information is inaccurate. Tell me of my inaccuracy, and we'll go from there.

                                    • Stop the madness
                                      We need to quit making blanket statements about opinions with which we disagree. This has not worked on our national political scene and it will not help solve our state's educational decline. I support teachers and education. But shutting off discussion and using terms like "Stars and Bars legislative mentality" are not helpful. You slander your opposition with name-calling just the same as right-wing talk shows. Please enter the discussion with a cool head and maybe we can get something done to help our schools.
                                      • If you have time, spread the word
                                        Use the link above to put this on your Facebook pages, or tweet it, please. I'm not running for office. Instead, I have a deep love for educators and what they've done for my family, friends, colleagues, and others here. Help educate the members of the legislature, who are facing difficult times understanding the real nature of the problems and how to patiently await return on their 'investments in the face of sharply reduced revenues.

                                        I have a PhD student daughter, another stepson that will become one, and I'm proud of each child. They've all done well; they received the preparations that they craved. Now it's up to them..... and us. We've got to shake the Stars and Bars attitude.

                                      • Bottom Line
                                        Dear Mr.Henderson,
                                        As a special education teacher and administrator for 25 years, I cannot tell you how much my heart jumps for joy that there is someone else out there who "gets it"!!! You 'get' that our children are not like a business and cannot be treated as profit and loss margins on a business report, or as you said...there education cannot be "outcome based" and merit determined by standardized testing alone.... I have used those exact words so many times over the past several years, and to my dismay and sadness, our governor, state superintendent, along with the legislature and department of education, simply do not "get it". Your article is right on, I applaud you,thank you, and you have my support and vote should you ever decide to run for governor of this great state of ours!!
                                      • Start with the parents
                                        I am a parent of two children who attended both public and parochial schools. Our kids have had wonderful educations because we were actively involved parents. Gov. Daniels and Dr. Bennett must be under the same illusion that all parents want a great education for their kids. Too many parents are apathetic and expect teachers and schools to make their children successful. Over the last 18 years, we have watched parents chose themselves over their children, routinely sending them to school without food, clean clothes, combed hair, socks, love, homework, etc. The greatest problem educators face is attempting to teach hungry, emotionally starved kids. Just go to any inner city school, and ask a random kid what he/she had for dinner, where they live and/or if the grandmother is the head of the household. A lay person would be shocked at the answers. I have seen teachers who keep granola bars and crackers for kids who haven't had a meal since lunch the day before. Schools nor government cannot improve performance until society fixes itself. Educators need the union layer of insulation. God bless you all.
                                      • Finally
                                        Finally, someone who sees education as it should be viewed. Finally, an educated voice of reason. No hidden agendas, no slanderous rhetoric, no misleading information. Just the simple truth. Finally, a voice worthy of my vote for governor.
                                      • Yes to all that.
                                        Thank you for this editorial. If teachers don't start hearing some opposition to this madness, we're going to start believing all the lies ourselves.
                                      • Public Schools the Enemy?
                                        Since when did public school and educators become the enemy? I have been a teacher for 25 years and I have never felt so villified. How can any intelligent person think kids can be compared to a product? Public schools take the kids we are given, regardless of their abilities, backgrounds, and support systems, and do the best we can to help them become productive citizens. We don't turn away the challenging kids or the ones with lower abilities. There is always room to improve, but robbing the public schools of the most capable children and sending the funds with them, can only harm not help. I wish Mr. Daniels and Mr. Bennett would spend some time in a public school. Come sub for a day before you condemn. There are many excellent public schools in our state.
                                      • Total Agreement
                                        Mr. Henderson is right on the money when he writes that our students are not little profit centers. For those of you who would like another voice...check out www.facebook.com/supportindianateachers
                                      • 100% Agreement
                                        This story speaks for all of us in public education. Why can't "government" wake up and see what is going on. "My man Mitch" has certainly shot himself in the foot this time. I can't believe he gets on TV and spouts off about doing what he can for education when he helping to sink education in this state. I have made it clear to my representative how I feel and I sure hope everybody else does just that.
                                      • The Massacre
                                        Thank you for saying what every teacher is feeling these days. I have been a teacher for 12 years and didn't come into this job to get rich, a view of more teachers than you know. I am teaching because I love it. The powers that be are very quickly breaking down that love and creating havoc in our school systems. The sad thing is, I don't think Mr. Daniels has even spent a day in a teacher's shoes. How can he make so many judgements from the outside looking in?
                                      • Govenor
                                        I am sad to say that I voted for our out of touch govenor. Did he attend public school?? Many baby boomers have and are making a positive difference in our society. I feel that "My Man Mitch" is telling falsehoods about education to help him pay back borrowed money from the Federeal Government. Just another politician running his mouth and running for office. How about Mr. Henderson running for governor????? I'd vote for him!
                                      • Finally
                                        Thank you for expressing the concerns many of us teachers have regarding the vouchers and the attacks our govenor is making on teachers and their representatives. I guess only business count in Indiana.
                                      • Frightening Time
                                        I could not agree more! I have worked in public schools for 30 years. I hope the legislators will take the time to check the facts and not blindly believe what the Governor and Dr. Bennett are feeding them.
                                      • Out of Control

                                        To the point and so very true.

                                        Your frustration at current events is palpable when reading your article.

                                        You are not alone.

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