Category Archives: Coll Bargaining

Indiana: Still hating public education after all these years

For the last two decades, the Indiana General Assembly has done its best to hurt Indiana’s public schools and public school teachers. This year is no different. But before we look at this year, let’s take a quick trip back to the past to see what the General Assembly has done to hurt public education in general, and public school teachers in particular.

2011 was the watershed mark for public education in Indiana. We had all been suffering through No Child Left Behind with all its onerous requirements. Then Governor Mitch Daniels (now President of Purdue University) with his sidekick, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett, worked diligently with the Republican supermajority in the legislature and the Republican-leaning State Board of Education, to make things as difficult for public education and public educators as they could. Subsequent Governors Pence and Holcomb have continued down the same path. Governor Pence, especially, was blatant in his support for private schools over public (see For Further Reading at the end of this post).

Here are a few things that the Daniels-, Pence-, and Holcomb-led supermajority has done to public schools and public school teachers in Indiana

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

The collective bargaining process has been gutted. Just like other anti-union Republicans, the legislature has passed legislation to restrict collective bargaining to only money and benefits. No longer is it required that school boards negotiate work-related conditions such as class size, preparation time and hours of work. For years, politicians said that all teachers were interested in was “their wallets.” The new collective bargaining law prohibits teachers from negotiating anything else.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

When I started teaching in 1975, Indiana teachers were required to have or work towards a master’s degree. Once the advanced degree was achieved teachers were moved to a higher salary schedule which recognized and rewarded advanced education. Teachers are no longer required to get an advanced degree but are still required to participate in “continuing education” in order to keep their license current. However, an advanced degree or hours above the bachelor’s degree are no longer automatically rewarded; the salary schedules are gone. The educational experience of teachers apparently no longer matters. Testing counts, of course, so Indiana still “rewards” teachers whose students achieve high test scores. Years of experience and advanced education? Not so much.

REPA III

Politicians and pundits will often talk about how we only want the best-qualified teachers in our classrooms. So it’s easy to be confused about the rules that allow untrained educators to walk into a high school classroom on the first day of school. If you have a degree in a high school subject, biology for example, and you have worked in the field for a minimum number of years, say as a sales rep for a laboratory, you can walk into a high school class on the first day of the school year and “teach” biology. Education/pedagogical training is required, but not right away. You can start with no experience or understanding of child/adolescent development, classroom management, or understanding of the learning process. So much for the best qualified.

DUE PROCESS

For years teachers were protected from arbitrary dismissals by the requirement that the administration prove incompetence or other reasons for dismissal through due process. An impartial arbitrator would listen to both sides and make a judgment. A principal who didn’t like a teacher couldn’t just fire a teacher without just cause. That’s no longer the case. The only recourse a teacher has now for an unfair firing is to request a meeting with the Superintendent or the local school board, neither of which would be considered impartial.

FUNDING

Public school funding was cut by $300 million during the Daniels Administration. This money has never been replaced.

Vouchers, which began in 2011, have siphoned more than $800 million from public education. Charter schools, including virtual charters, have also taken money once designated for the public good and put it into private pockets.

CURRENTLY

The bills and amendments discussed below have not yet passed the legislature. They still give an indication of the way in which Indiana public educators are disrespected.

School Safety

School safety has been an important issue especially with the frequency of school shootings and the number of children killed by gun violence every day. Many schools have initiated “active school shooter” training so that the staff would be prepared for an emergency.

Indiana made the national news in March when a local school district allowed the Sheriff’s department in their community to shoot plastic pellets at teachers in order to make the training “more realistic.” Teachers, some of whom sustained injuries, were told to keep the training procedure a secret.

A current amendment to a bill (HB1253) allows this to continue.

Do teachers need to be shot in order to understand the need for school safety? Are teachers unaware of the dangers of gun violence? One teacher who was shot with pellets commented,

“It hurt really bad,” said the woman, who said she was left with bruises, welts and bleeding cuts that took almost two weeks to heal. “You don’t know who you are shooting and what types of experience those individuals had in the past, whether they had PTSD or anything else. And we didn’t know what we were going into.”

She described the training as frightening, painful and insulting.

“What makes it more outrageous is they thought we would need to have that experience of being shot to take this seriously,” she said. “When I thought about it that way, I really started to get angry. Like we are not professionals. It felt belittling.”

Great. So let’s pass a bill which allows people to do that again.

Teacher Pay

Governor Holcomb has called for an increase in teacher pay this year.

Because of a constitutional cap on property taxes, the state legislature is charged with the responsibility of making sure schools have enough funds to operate. So much for “local control.”

Indiana teachers’ real wages have dropped by 15% since 1999. We are well behind the increases in pay given to teachers in surrounding states. The legislature, in order to increase teacher pay, has proposed to increase funding for education by 2.1%. Last year’s inflation rate was 1.9%. The proposed 2.1% will also be used to pay for increases in support of vouchers and charter schools. How much will be left for public school teacher raises?

The legislature, trying to act like a state school board, suggested that school systems be required to use 85% of their state money for teacher salaries. So much for “local control.”

Collective Bargaining

There’s an amendment to a bill (SB390) which will require that a maximum of three collective bargaining meetings between school boards and local teachers associations be private. All the rest of the meetings must be held publicly.

The only reason I can see for this amendment is to make things more difficult for the teachers union. There’s no research to support the idea that schools with open negotiations meetings save more money than schools which negotiate in private. There’s no research to support the idea that this will help teachers teach better, or improve student performance. There is no reason to do this other than to make things more difficult for teachers.

Where is the corresponding legislation to require the same public meeting policy for administrators’ salaries? legislature staff salaries? state department of health workers salaries?

INDIANA HATES ITS PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS

This year, just like in the past, the state of Indiana, ruled by one party with a supermajority in the legislature, has worked to disrespect public schools and public school teachers. The only way to fight this, aside from the daily grind of contacting legislators about every single damaging piece of legislation, is to elect people who don’t hate public schools and public school teachers.

One would think we’d be able to get the teachers, themselves, on board with this

For Further Reading:

More about the damage done to public education in Indiana

A telling story of school ‘reform’ in Mike Pence’s home state, Indiana

What Did Mike Pence Do For Indiana Schools As Governor? Here’s A Look

Curmudgucation: Posts about Indiana

The basics of everything: Your guide to education issues in Indiana

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Filed under Bennett, Coll Bargaining, Due Process, Holcomb, IN Gen.Assembly, Indiana, Mitch Daniels, NCLB, Pence, Public Ed, REPA, SBOE, SchoolFunding, SchoolShootings, Teachers Unions, TeacherSalary, Teaching Career

A Big Red “F” For Indiana

Indiana legislators and “reformers” love letter grades…so communities (via their schools) are graded as A through F using already invalid ISTEP scores. Those grades are good for things like getting campaign donations from privatizers, bashing public school teachers, and directing real estate agents to where the money is, but not much else.

Now that the Network for Public Education has given Indiana a grade of F because of the failure to actually help improve student achievement and public education, legislators will likely complain that these grades aren’t valid…that they’re biased (irony alert)…or even more likely, they’ll ignore them completely.

An editorial in Sunday’s (Feb. 14, ’16) Journal Gazette summarizes the report about Indiana…

State gets poor marks in dedication to schools

Indiana earns Fs for supporting teacher professionalism, resisting privatization and investing school funding resources wisely. It earned Ds for rejecting high-stakes testing and giving children a chance for success. Indiana public schools continue to serve the vast majority of students. Public school enrollment this fall was 1,046,146 students, compared to 84,030 non-public students.

The poor mark for high-stakes testing won’t surprise anyone familiar with the state’s continuing struggles with ISTEP+, the standardized test administered to students in grades 3 through 8. Indiana also is among a handful of states requiring third-graders to pass a reading test to be promoted to fourth grade.

The state did get a B in school finance…and a D in High Stakes Testing and Chance for Success, though, as we’ll see I disagree with the High Stakes Testing grade.

The grade card then, is 3 Fs, 2 Ds, and a B – not the worst in the nation (thanks to Arizona, Idaho, Texas and Mississippi), but certainly not anything to be proud of.

The complete report from Network for Public Education (NPE) can be found here

My comments, and my grades, along with NPE’s, cover three of the categories. These three alone would be enough reason to change the political leadership in Indiana in November (if not sooner). Add to that the refusal of the Republican governor to work cooperatively and respectfully with the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, an actual teacher, and we have a serious situation for Indiana’s school children.

[On an interesting side note, the current State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), Glenda Ritz, used to be a Republican. She switched parties in order to help us get rid of former SPI and “reformer” extraordinaire, Tony Bennett. She recognized that his and then Governor Mitch Daniels’ policies were damaging the public schools in our state. Suellen Reed, the SPI before Tony Bennett, also a Republican, is currently on the advisory board of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, a pro-public education group fighting “reform” and privatization. She served for 16 years as SPI under Democratic and Republican Governors in a congenial atmosphere which disappeared with the Daniels/Bennett administration.]

FAIL: HIGH STAKES TESTING

Indiana uses the ISTEP to grade schools and evaluate teachers, neither of which is a valid use of a tool meant for measuring student achievement. Last year’s ISTEP mess has at least encouraged the legislature to rethink the test and likely go with a different provider. However, grading schools and teachers using student achievement test scores will probably continue no matter what test is used.

Indiana also uses the ISTEP to label each school and school system on an A through F scale. Schools and neighborhoods are then either damned or lauded. That judgement is based, for the most part, on the economy of the families whose children attend the school since standardized tests have a direct correlation with family income. The D and F labels attached to low-income schools are detrimental to the community, to its families, and to its children. Students and their families are punished for having low incomes. Teachers are punished for working in high poverty schools.

Furthermore, Indiana uses a reading test, IREAD-3, to prevent students from being promoted from third grade to fourth. The rationale is that they need a year to catch up. Research into retention has shown time and again that students who are behind in third grade don’t catch up through retention, and in fact, fall even further behind. The money for IREAD-3 would be better spent on early intervention (see here, and here, and you might as well check this out, too).

NPE used various criteria in which to give Indiana a D. They also figured their grade before the monumental failure of last year’s ISTEP. My feeling is that the overuse, abuse, and misuse of tests in Indiana is reason enough to award the state a BIG RED F.

NPE Grade – D
My Grade – F

FAIL: PROFESSIONALIZATION OF TEACHING

NPE graded states on their ability to treat teachers with respect as professionals. Indiana fails.

The legislative chairs of the respective education committees (Robert Behning, chair of the House Education Committee, and Dennis Kruse, chair of the Senate Education and Career Development Committee) seem to take pleasure in depriving public school educators of their rights. In 2011 they led the drive to

  1. eliminate due process for teachers. In the past administrations which wished to terminate a teacher had to allow the teacher a hearing with an impartial mediator. This allowed the teacher to present her case in front of someone who was not involved with the school system and could rule impartially. We call this Due Process. The law was changed in 2011. Now, teachers who are to be terminated can request a meeting with the superintendent or the school board. The chances of a fair and impartial hearing are reduced. This is what was meant by the term tenure in K-12 education in the state. Indiana teachers no longer have it.
  2. reduce collective bargaining to only salary and insurance. Teachers and school systems no longer have the right to negotiate things like class size, evaluations, prep time, or parent teacher conferences. Teachers now must do what they’re told, despite the damage it might do to student learning. The collective bargaining law changes (actually all the law changes in 2011) were meant to punish the teachers unions in Indiana, which they have done, but they also limit the flexibility that school systems have in negotiations as well. The supermajority in Indiana doesn’t seem to understand (or care) that negotiations and bargaining is a process that takes two parties: the teachers and the school system.
  3. use student achievement test scores to evaluate teachers. Why is it that there are fewer “bad” teachers (based on student test scores) in wealthy areas? Why is it that schools in high-poverty areas always seem to have many more “bad” teachers? Because student test scores reflect the level of parental income. Using student achievement test scores to evaluate teachers (and schools) is quite simply a misuse of tests and should be stopped.
  4. force schools to abandon the step-scale for teacher pay and eliminate seniority. Apparently the supermajority and its “reformer” donors don’t consider experience a benefit in public schools. I wonder if they would be happy with an inexperienced teacher for their own child…an inexperienced surgeon taking out their appendix or an inexperienced attorney defending them in court. The truth is, experience matters, in every job or profession.

The legislature and the governor also have a problem listening to the elected educational professional in the government, the State Superintendent of Public Education, Glenda Ritz. Instead they’ve worked tirelessly, and successfully, to limit her influence on Indiana’s education policy. Apparently they believe that the auctioneer that leads the Senate education committee, the florist that leads the House education committee, and the radio talk show host who sits in the governor’s chair, all know more about public education than someone who

  • is a National Board Certified Teacher with two masters degrees
  • is a former Teacher of the Year
  • has 33 years of teaching experience in public education

Or perhaps it’s that she’s a Democrat and former union leader who got more votes than their “reformist” friend, Tony Bennett…

Here’s an irony for you…the legislature is “studying” the reason for the looming teacher shortage.

NPE Grade – F
My Grade – F

FAIL: RESISTANCE TO PRIVATIZATION

Public Education is a public trust. It should be funded and controlled by the public through democratically elected school boards. President John Adams wrote,

“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”

Indiana has the most expansive voucher program in the nation, diverting millions of dollars from public schools to private, mostly parochial schools.

Indiana politicians also favor privately run charter schools over public schools by methods such as loan forgiveness (even when the school closes), additional special-favor loans to charter schools, and support for the proven failure of virtual charter schools.

In Indiana “failing” public schools end up as “failing” charter schools, which then become “failing” parochial schools getting taxpayer dollars. Instead of redistributing tax money reserved for public education to private corporations and religious organizations, the state ought to help students in struggling schools. In the past, Indiana was one of the few states where struggling schools got higher funding than schools in wealthy areas. That changed in 2015. Now, the better you do on standardized tests, the more money you get.

State budget proposal shifts aid toward wealthy schools

…changes in the funding system proposed Monday appear likely to funnel most of those extra dollars to wealthy and growing suburban school districts, while some of the poorest and shrinking districts could actually get less money.

So, instead of putting money where it’s needed, the state “rewards” schools for high performance, forcing students in poorer areas to do more with less. Those same students are then “blamed” for “failing” and their schools get closed or turned over to a charter company. The failure of the state to provide for the students is blamed on the school, the teachers, and the students, and privatization gets the PR boost, and the profits, it was after all along.

NPE Grade – F
My Grade – F

FAIL: INDIANA

The state of Indiana is lead by a “reformist” governor and a “reformist” supermajority in both houses of the legislature. Their goals appear to be the complete privatization of public schools, the deprofessionalization of public school teachers, and the elimination of Indiana’s teachers unions, all accomplished through testing.

Things are not likely to change soon. Politicians talk a good game, but they are driven by the need to be reelected, which means they respond to those who pay their campaign expenses, i.e. donors. And the biggest contributors are the corporate donors who use public education tax revenue as a source for profit.

If Indiana wants to improve its public schools…and we ought to pause to think about whether or not that’s actually true…which will benefit all our children and our communities, we’re going to have to change things. Poverty is the main cause of low achievement. As long as Indiana’s 22% child poverty rate, the same rate as the nation’s, continues, we’ll have struggling students. At this point it will take several generations to undo the damage done by the last 12 years of the supermajority legislature and the last two governors.

There are no “silver bullets” when it comes to improving schools. The myth that “three great teachers in a row” can close the achievement gap has always been a ploy. However, if states are willing to invest time and money guided by the right values, we will see steady progress for our public schools and our nation’s children. 

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Filed under Bennett, Coll Bargaining, Due Process, Evaluations, GradingSchools, IREAD-3, ISTEP, Mitch Daniels, NPE, Pence, poverty, Privatization, retention, Ritz, Teaching Career, Testing

Be a Republican – Bust a Union

CONTROL

This was posted today by Chalkbeat Indiana

Bill to loosen union control of teacher pay moves ahead: Democrats on the House Education Committee and ISTA officials opposed the bill

Lawmakers moved ahead with a bill today that would weaken teachers unions’ control over where teachers are placed on salary scales they negotiate for all teachers.

Unions don’t control teacher pay any more than school boards control teacher pay. Collective bargaining in Indiana, even though it was severely limited by the legislature in 2011, still allows teachers and school systems to come to an agreement about teacher pay and benefits based on mutual cooperation. Teachers don’t demand and get whatever they want. School boards don’t announce and get whatever they want. Collective bargaining means that teachers and school boards work together to agree on what’s best for their individual school corporation.

THE HURT GOES BOTH WAYS

Educational issues that used to be negotiated, like class size or school calendars, are now off the table.

This hurts school systems as much as it does teachers. School systems can no longer offer to compromise class sizes vs. salary increases. Teachers can no longer offer to give up smaller classes for more prep time. Parent conference days, duty schedules, inservice days…none of those things are bargainable any more. That affects the school system’s ability to bargain just as much as it does the teachers union.

The bill in question, HB1004, would allow schools and school systems to bypass the collective bargaining process and pay some teachers – those in shortage areas like science and special education – more money than other teachers. The union is against this because

…it circumvents unions and could pit teachers against each other.

It also circumvents school boards…it circumvents the ability of teachers and school boards to cooperate. Schools and school systems work best when everyone works together. This plan is a threat to that cooperation and a way to open up the salary system to all sorts of corruption. Do we really want schools to pay their teachers like sports teams pay their players…so they compete for the high paying jobs, jump ship to another school where they can be the superstar in order to rake in the big dollars, hold out for more money?

Hint: No, we don’t. A school works best when the staff works together. Why would an experienced teacher want to help a new teacher who might replace him in his high paying position? Why would a young energetic teacher want to share ideas with an older teacher when they could use their new ideas to take over the high paying job? And who will be the big losers if this happens? The students.

“The heart of the teacher shortage in terms of retention is a professional wage, and these bills don’t address that,” said Gail Zeheralis, the union’s lobbyist. “The consequences of House Bill 1004 will be to foster ill will in districts and buildings.”

ULTERIOR MOTIVES?

Teachers unions have been a regular target for Republican lawmakers in recent years. Other bills introduced in the last two years would allow all teachers to individually negotiate their contracts

Before 2010 Superintendents were anxious for the legislature to weaken ISTA. In 2011, they did. Republican legislators have been happy to go along because first, Republicans hate unions, and second, because Republicans have had trouble supporting public education and the ISTA has rarely (though not never) supported them. Even now, when you look at who is getting the benefits from the governor’s office and the legislature, it’s private schools (through bills geared towards increasing the state’s already expansive voucher plan) and privately owned charter schools – because privatization donors are buying the Republican party in Indiana just like they are elsewhere. Public schools, while they enroll the vast majority of students in the state, are the last ones the legislature wants to help. Public schools don’t bring in the campaign donations.

In other words, this bill has nothing to do with keeping teachers in the classroom or encouraging more young people to enter the teaching profession. It has nothing to do with improving instruction or helping struggling students. This bill, like so many others from Indiana’s supermajority Republican legislature, is politically motivated. It’s plain, old-fashioned, union busting.

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Filed under Coll Bargaining, ISTA, Legislatures

An Open Letter to Indiana’s Public School Teachers

Dear Teachers,

Over the last several years…

  • You have lost many of your collective bargaining rights.
  • You have lost the right to due process when it comes to your job. You can now be fired for teaching hard to educate, and hard to accelerate students because…
  • You have lost the right to use your professional judgment with your students, instead being forced to rely on inadequate and massive amounts of testing — testing which robs you and your students of valuable instructional time. Those same tests are now the basis of your evaluation no matter what happens to your students outside of school. You have no control over their family income, their neighborhood safety issues, their emotional health, or the ability of their parents to get them adequate mental, physical, and dental health care. All of those issues have a bearing on your students’ achievement, yet you alone are held responsible for their academic success or failure.
  • You have lost the right to use your school’s communications to discuss “certain” topics, even while former public officials did the same thing.
  • Your schools have lost millions of dollars of tax money being transferred to private schools and charter schools with the ability to choose their clientele, while your schools must accept every child who enters its doors.
  • Your schools have been forced to spend millions of their scarce dollars on those same inadequate and massive testing programs.

This year, there are bills before the state legislature which will…

  • Allow the State Board of Education to usurp the authority of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Indiana Department of Education.
  • Allow charter and non-public schools to administer different tests than the ones your students are required to take.
  • Allow for a hostile takeover of your bargaining agent.
  • Provide for more forced testing at a younger age…and for that testing to be a larger part of your evaluation. 
  • Eliminate your right to any collective bargaining.

This year the Governor’s plan would…

  • Allow private, parochial, and charter schools to circumvent restrictions which your school must follow.
  • Allow even more tax money to be spent on vouchers and charter schools resulting in fewer resources and larger classes in your public school.
  • Increase the interference of so-called “Merit Pay” plans, which deny adequate financial remuneration to teachers who teach hard to educate and hard to accelerate students.

Public schools are starved of resources…public school teachers are forced to teach in ways which are not conducive to real learning…and then public schools and public school teachers are blamed for low achievement.

The Governor, State Board of Education, and legislature are still trying to negate the State Superintendent of Public Instruction election of 2012. They are still trying to privatize public education. They are still trying to destroy the state’s teachers unions.

Isn’t it time for you to speak up? Your students deserve a fully funded public education system. You deserve a profession of which you can be proud, focused on best practices and professional growth not interference by uneducated and inexperienced politicians.

Learn about what the legislature is doing this year. Their actions will have an impact on you and your ability to teach your students. Stay informed with…

  • the Parent Community Network of Monroe County (on FaceBook)
  • the American Federation of Teachers – Indiana (Website).

At the very least contact your legislators and urge them to end the battle against public education and public school educators.

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The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Filed under Charters, Coll Bargaining, Corp Interest, Due Process, Legislatures, Pence, Ritz, SBOE, Teaching Career, Testing, vouchers

Destruction Continues in Indiana

Yesterday I noted some of the areas where Indiana lawmakers are doing their best to damage public schools.

Here are two more…at the very end I have included an email I got from a teacher suggesting responses when we write letters to our lawmakers (addresses available here).

AN ATTACK ON PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS

In a clear preference for private schools, the state legislature gives preferential treatment — using tax dollars — to parents who send their children to private schools or who home school their children. Public School parents take note. These are the people we elected. Let them know that this is unacceptable!

Codifying an education injustice – from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Indiana House Republicans are making no pretense this session of their preference for private schools and home-schooling. On Monday, GOP lawmakers voted 62-36 to defeat an amendment that would have given parents of public school students a tax break available to private, parochial and home-schooling families.

Lawmakers two years ago approved a tax deduction for families who home-school or send their children to private or parochial school – with or without a voucher. It amounted to a sort of consolation prize for parents who already were sending their children to private schools and would not benefit from voucher entitlements.

In 2011, the Indiana Department of Revenue said the tax break cost the state about $2.6 million in just its first year. It apparently was not enough – the House has voted to triple the amount of the tax deduction for 2013.

Indiana is one of just eight states where public-school parents must pay for textbooks. For some families, the cost amounts to hundreds of dollars a year. But when Rep. Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute, offered an amendment to House Bill 1427 to allow parents of students enrolled in public schools to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit for textbooks, House Republicans cried foul. The tax break is “a dangerous path to go down,” said Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton.

But it’s a path the GOP-controlled legislature chose to take two years ago. Now it is simply picking winners and losers along the path. Among northeast Indiana lawmakers, Rep. Martin Carbaugh of Fort Wayne was the only Republican to support extending a tax break to parents of public school students.

AN ATTACK ON SILENT TEACHERS

The following review of a proposed bill was posted by a teacher from Indiana. The complete, current version of the bill (as of Feb 13, 2013) is available at http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2013/IN/IN1339.1.html

Indiana teachers…are you going to just close the door to your classrooms and let the legislature destroy your profession, damage the public schools and hurt the children to whom you have devoted your careers?

Justin Oakley 2012

Today I read proposed House Bill 1339 and frankly if teachers in this state aren’t furious, fired up, and fed up, I don’t know what it is going to take to get your attention.

Hoosier Teachers:

HB 1339 takes away any due process for you. Simply put, you can be fired for anything regardless of your contract (this bill will super cede all contracts and renege on all 2011 promises that bargaining certain items would remain)

You will lose status quo status of any and all un-bargained contracts (er, Indiana history here: The reason teachers have association rights is because in 1970’s Republican Governor made a deal – but implemented status quo law as to make striking in Indiana illegal -) and basically have ZERO bargaining power (which point blank is what these guys want and are making sure it happens NOW)

They have even added a provision to basically start the course of elimination of sick bank – that should get your attention – and again, if it doesn’t, I’m not sure what will?

Here’s some more:

Suspension with no pay (without due process) – and a forced submission of RISE (the four pieces regardless of contract) and all kinds of new reporting items to multiple boards.

And, they have also introduced parent trigger laws (which allows for parents to “take over” a school), virtual charters (with no oversight) and on and on and on and on……

Did I miss something here? Didn’t Tony Bennett get defeated by a staggering number in Indiana? Didn’t the State Supt. seat get 1.3 million votes? MORE THAN THE GOVERNOR ELECT?

I’m hearing that emails are not being answered. Phone calls are not being returned or ignored.

I’m hearing CRICKETS from the Indiana media!!!!!! (minus one very vocal reporter out of Fort Wayne)

I’m asking YOU right now, what is it going to take? How much more do you have to take before you completely snap?

I love teaching. I had the BEST teachers in the world. I wanted to spend my life giving back to MY community – – – – – now it is all be taken away and NO ONE is listening, fighting, or participating at the level we need to be.

How about this? How about 10,000 of you join my next Saturday in Mooresville, IN? I’m working on setting up a conference call for us to communicate off line.

It is TIME we say enough is enough. This is the time.

More to come…….

TAKE ACTION

Indiana parents and teachers…contact your legislators and let them know that you are against the attacks on public education in Indiana.

Indiana Senate Members
Indiana House Members
Indiana House and Indiana Senate Education Committees

From Julian Smith

Long but seemingly productive day at the statehouse. Here’s a couple points that appeared to register with legislators today that you might share in your correspondence.

Parent trigger- not fair that only parents of students get to vote. Taxpayers (stakeholders) without children have a vested interest in their schools too. And it’s not fair that a parent would get to vote for every child they have in the school. The way it is written 1 child, one vote and 10 kids, 10 votes.

Vouchers- Governor Daniels said in a speech at Harvard that public schools should have the first chance. It is not fair that private school parents get all the help and tax advantages while public school parents are still paying text book rental fees.

Accelerated reform- Many legislators are starting to question the wisdom of accelerating reforms that were already passed and implemented very quickly without giving them adequate time to take root. They are starting to recognize some of the unintended consequences we warned them about two years ago and are somewhat willing to acknowledge that macro modifications may result in a whole new set of unintended consequences.

Remediation-We currently spend about $3 mil on remediation and something like $41 mil on testing. What good is a test if you have no resources to cure the problem?

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Stop the Testing Insanity!
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Filed under Coll Bargaining, IN Gen.Assembly, Parent Trigger, vouchers