Some new ideas on education reform

January 15, 2011
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IBJ Letters To The Editor

I read the debate page of your Dec. 27 Forefront issue between former House speaker [Pat] Bauer [D-South Bend] and incoming Speaker [Brian] Bosma [R-Indianapolis] regarding “What should be done to attract more young professionals to Indiana?” Bosma touches on education in Indiana. That is where the challenge begins.

We spend too much on brick and mortar and administration and too little on the classroom experience. Classrooms need to be bright, well-lit and big enough for students and teachers to feel they can “breathe” in them. They do not have to be architectural wonders. Students and teachers need to know that administrators are there for their benefit. The stronger the student-teacher relationship, the fewer support staff required.

It is remarkable that, in much of the discussion about improving education, the role of parents is ignored. Parents need to understand that teachers are there to teach, not coddle and discipline, and that administrators are there to support the pursuit of excellent education. Parents should be leading the effort, not following it.

Most discussion seems to support the notion that we must refocus our efforts on math, science and technology. What about reading comprehension and writing/communication skills? We like to test in order to assess success. We are missing a critical “test” in the education discussion. Schools should conduct tests early in a student’s journey to identify where their strength(s), and most probably their passion(s) lie, instead of cramming excessive courses down their throats. The result is a dislike for the delivery of education and most certainly a less-motivated student.

To date we have spent $218,492 on college-related costs for our four children. If Indiana wants to develop and attract professionals, it must deal with ridiculous costs to attend college. I suggest a program for Indiana residents along these lines: When each student enters school, they earn credits toward postsecondary education. Credits would be tied to attendance, grades and participation in extracurricular activities of an academic nature. The credits follow the child. The credits are then redeemed against tuition at any Indiana school. Asking a student to fund their education through college loans is unacceptable, particularly given the debt load we have placed on this generation already.

When we have implemented this environment of education excellence, not only will it be easier to retain Hoosier professionals, it will be far easier to attract employers and professionals from outside our state. It will take time, it will take commitment, it will take money and it will take cooperation. As I grow older, I cannot think of anything that is more important than excellence in education. It serves us all.

Scott Berline


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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?