Indiana’s new governor, Mike Pence is picking up right where Mitch Daniels left off. In his State of the State address Pence described his education plan clearly…continue the privatization and destruction of Indiana’s public schools.
- He pledged not to restore the bulk of the $300 million that Daniels stripped from public school budgets over the last few years.
- He has promised an increase in public money going to private schools in the form of vouchers.
- He has offered to increase spending for those schools which are “successful” (read: high income) instead of increasing funding to schools which need it the most.
“He wants that funding to go to the highest performing schools and what he considers the best teachers,” said Meredith. “Once again, the programs and the opportunities that need to be there for our most impoverished children and our most challenged schools, he’s not looking at ways to support those schools or those students in any way.”
He’s also leading the charge to strip power from newly elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, Glenda Ritz, who, it ought to be noted, received more votes than he did.
Expansion of vouchers whereby tax dollars are diverted from public schools to (predominantly religious) private schools. Could he not wait until the Indiana Supreme Court has ruled on the issue?
Bonuses to the “best-performing” schools and teachers, an unsavory concept that presumes educators work for financial incentives and threatens to make life worse for those who need the most help.
Partnerships between schools and business on the vocational level, an eminently good idea that already is in application and would be more widely so if it weren’t for budget cuts necessitated by those do-or-die standardized tests.
Oh, and lest we forget, Pence already had sent a clear message to his colleague [newly elected State Superintendent] Ritz on his first day in office when he signed an executive order shifting from her jurisdiction to his the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board, which oversees what’s left of teacher collective bargaining.
The cognitive dissonance which Indiana voters thrust upon themselves continues. Pence and the supermajorities in both houses of the state General Assembly are bent on starving public education while feeding private schools with taxpayer money. The denial of resources to the schools most in need will create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. The state is abandoning the children who need the most help…and, once their failure is assured, the “reformers” will use that as an excuse for more privatization.
The basis which the “reformers” publicly use for privatization are wrong…public schools are not failing, standardized test scores are not valid instruments to evaluate schools and/or teachers, vouchers do take money away from the public schools, private schools and charter schools are not better than public schools, and poverty does matter.
Meanwhile Glenda Ritz, by her victory in November, has a mandate from the voters of Indiana to stop the attack on public schools.