Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012: Question of the Day

Did you know that Indiana tax dollars spent on testing In Indiana in the last five years has increased from approximately $26 million to $43 million?

Did you know that Indiana tax dollars spent on helping Hoosier students who are having academic difficulty in the last five years has decreased from approximately $14 million to $3 million?

Where does your Indiana tax money for testing go? Click HERE to read about Indiana Tests.


Click the question mark below to see all our Questions of the Day or click the link in the sidebar.


How Much Testing?

The Assistant Superintendent of the Vigo County School Corporation put together a list of all the evaluations Indiana public schools are required to conduct throughout the school year. Click the image below for the document.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

GEM Puts Documentary Online

The Grassroots Education Movement has placed their documentary, The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting for Superman online. They describe the film...
One year ago, The Grassroots Education Movement premiered a new documentary, written and directed by New York City public school teachers and parents, created in response to Davis Guggenheim’s highly misleading film. Waiting for "Superman" would have audiences believe that free-market competition, standardized tests, destroying teacher unions, and the proliferation of charter schools are just what this country needs to create great public schools.

The Inconvenient Truth Behind Waiting For "Superman" highlights the real-life experiences of public school parents, students and educators to show how these so-called reforms are actually hurting public education. The film discusses the kinds of real reform – inside schools and in our society as a whole – that we urgently need to genuinely transform education in this country.

Since the official premiere of GEM's film at the Assembly Hall of The Riverside Church in Harlem on May 19, 2012 featuring historian Diane Ravitch as our honored guest, our free offer of the DVD and permission to copy and distribute copies of the film have produced an estimated 15,000 copies in circulation. Requests have come in from all 50 states and 6 continents. Screenings have been set up by unions, parent groups, college professors and libraries all over the nation, in India, Turkey, England, New Zealand and Australia. Demand has been so great, we are currently working on a Spanish language version of the 67 minute film.

For more information about the film, visit:

The film is online at

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Open Letter to Indiana's Select Commission on Education

This letter to the members of Indiana's Select Commission on Education was written by Paul Obermeyer, a businessman and lifelong resident of Indiana. Both his wife and daughter teach in the public schools.
General Education Concerns State of Indiana and the Select Commission on Education

I have been following the Legislation of Public Schools and the recent laws passed by the Republican Administration the past several years and am very concerned about the future to come for education in this State. Yesterday, as I celebrated Mother’s Day with my wife and family (my daughter and wife both teach) we had a family discussion of just how unappreciated teachers are. It is our opinion, that Governor Daniels, Dr. Tony Bennett and the Director of Budget, Adam Horst, as well as the Republican Party and the State of Indiana have turned their backs on the teaching profession. Today, I noticed that the Department of Education has made available a video on how much Hoosiers appreciate Teachers. Excuse me for being just a bit cynical…but how have the recent funding decisions and legislation been supportive of teachers?

Teachers today are expected to do more than teach and are faced with social problems never before confronted in the classroom. Governor Daniels and Dr. Bennett worked “in concert” and made certain that every parent and student were given a pass for their performance in the classroom, spending over two years working to undermine the integrity of Public School Teachers. Recent legislation which gutted the ISTA and teachers’ rights, as well as their voice in the classroom, did so much damage to the morale of the profession, it may never be undone. As a leader within a business, I feel the Department of Education has LOST the support of the people they need most…the teachers. If you run a business, and I don’t care what kind of business, you must make the employees feel important and give them a voice in the process. The Department of Education has NOT done that, and, even more, has attacked the teachers and penalized their efforts. A good coach does not ruin the morale of the team…they must instill confidence and faith. WE did just the opposite…WE destroyed the profession. Time will prove this out. We will start to see fewer people seeking to be educators. (This is already happening.) Imagine four years of college and ongoing classes to be a licensed teacher, just to take a starting job paying about $12.00 per hour. Couple that with other facts, such as; extreme scrutiny and ongoing evaluations, reduced benefits, longer school years, working more and more hours of your own time on lesson plans and grading papers, no pay increases (FACT THAT CAN BE DEMONSTRATED), no job security and getting thrown under the bus by legislators who want to solve the problem of education on the cheap, doing so through dirty party politics.

Does the Department of Education feel that this video will repair the damage done to the people you need most… the teachers? I can tell you the answer is that it probably will not. There is an old saying that “Talk is Cheap” and nothing proves that more than this type of propaganda.

I am sorry to say that after 57 years as a resident of the State of Indiana I have never been more embarrassed by the actions of those in charge. The path of destruction to the educational system in this State, to achieve some needed changes, has been horrific. Why did we have to throw out the baby with the bath water? Changes, if properly administered, could have achieved the same goals without all of the personal damage and destruction to the morale of the teachers and educators in this State! Use of the whip has been far more frequent than use of the carrot. I know for a fact that my sentiments are more aligned with the majority of the educators in this State and their morale is at rock bottom. I am glad to see that someone must have recognized this and through this video is attempting to communicate a positive message, but remember, “talk is cheap”!

Sincerely Submitted,

Paul R. Obermeyer
You might also be interested in:

Another Parent letter to Indiana Select Commission on Education

The next Select Commission on Education meeting will be held Monday, May 21. Click HERE for the agenda and past minutes.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Education Issues 2012 #4

Corporate Reform, Parent Trigger, Wisconsin, IREAD, Testing, Testing Errors, Charters, Lies About US Education.

(Click on the titles below to read the complete articles.)

Connecticut and Alabama deal blows to Michelle Rhee-style corporate education reform
There's good news for public education in Alabama and Connecticut, as the Michelle Rhee breed of privatizers and corporate reformers were thwarted in both states, at least partially and at least for now. In Alabama, "a radical, far-reaching charter bill that would have allowed wholesale privatization of public education in the state" was declared dead in the state House for the session just ending. And in Connecticut, legislators fought Gov. Dannel Malloy's initial, teacher-scapegoating plan and gave teachers unions a voice in arriving at a compromise.

Beware! ‘Parent trigger’ misinformation coming to a theater near you
With the September release of Won’t Back Down, Tinseltown is stepping in where corporate mouthpieces, for-profit education companies, ill-informed politicians and pseudo-education reformers have been coming up short, most recently in Florida.

Starring an Oscar winner and two Oscar nominees, the movie, hope corporate education reformers and privatizers, will lend legitimacy to a movement that has generated bitter feelings and turned schools and communities against one another.

In film, Walker talks of 'divide and conquer' union strategy
"Well, we're going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill," Walker said. "The first step is we're going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer."

Senator agrees: Indiana education board overreached with reading retention rule
Sen. Luke Kenley has affirmed that Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and the Indiana State Board of Education went beyond the bounds of state law when they adopted a rule that requires third-graders to pass a reading test or face grade-level retention.

Student video: How high-stakes tests affect kids
There is one voice rarely heard in the screaming debate about the role of high-stakes tests in education: that of students.

Though the big focus today in education is on evaluating teachers and whether student standardized test results should be a part of educator assessment (they shouldn’t), there is no group more affected by high stakes on these exams than the people who have to take them. Results from a single test can determine whether a student moves up a grade or graduates from high school.

Corrupt, Unethical, Inept: Boycott Pearson
Almost 30 different test questions have now been declared invalid because they're confusing or have outright errors. And now Pearson Publishing is scrambling to explain what went wrong and how it's going to fix things.

The Nation’s Largest Charter Chain
There are legitimate questions to be raised about public dollars funding schools that are tied to a cleric, as well as questions about a charter chain that has close ties with another nation.

Report: Some charters spend more than traditional schools
For example, KIPP, Achievement First and Uncommon Schools in New York City, spend between $2,000 to $4,300 more per student than public schools. High-profile charter network schools outspend district schools in Texas, too — for example, KIPP spends around 30 to 50 percent more in some cities — but not in Ohio. The highly regarded KIPP charter network, the report says, is the one that spends more than neighboring traditional districts, though the amount varies by grade and place.

The conclusion contradicts, at least in some cases, one of the common assertions made by charter supporters: That they deliver a better education to the same profile of children for less money than traditional public schools.

Telling Lies About US Education
....this description of U.S. Education is a pack of lies that smears our nation. I wonder if the people who created this website went to fancy prep schools and looked down their noses at those of us who went to public school. They seem so eager to put down American schools, which educated 90% of us, and by implication, put down the United States. it makes one wonder who they are. Too bad they didn’t take responsibility and put their names on their work so we would know who they are.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Put Pressure on Indiana Media

Boycotting the Indiana Press’s Corporate School Reform Agenda
Through biased reporting and their unrelenting pursuit to promote Bennett, Daniels, and the corporate school reformers, the Indiana media flunkies have been selling the privatization of our schools for too long. The time is now to let local TV, radio, and newspaper reporters and editors know that we will not stand by idly. If the guilty don’t shape up, we must send them packing.

Here are a few ways to let publishers, editors, and producers know we are serious about canceling our subscriptions, changing the radio dial, and turning off the tube, encouraging others to follow.

The Boycott List:

Media Email Database

A database of Indiana newspaper contact information can be found here. Simply find the paper you want to contact and click on the (A) next to its name. This will take you to the paper’s contact form or email addresses to members of the editorial board or publishers.

You can find TV station contact information here, and a radio list at this link.

Here are a few selected to target.

1. Bloomington Herald-Times

This paper hosted a Bloomington Chamber of Commerce meeting with Tony Bennett. Both Douglas Storm and I submitted questions for editor Bob Zaltsberg to ask the superintendent. To the best of my knowledge, none of our questions made it through. Additionally, the paper published a meaningless account of the event and decided against running my editorial pointing out the cronyism in Tony Bennett’s agenda. They have published Douglas Storm’s letters and occasional guest columns, which have called out the corporate school reformers.

A primary issue of concern is a “know-nothing” editorial policy that claims, “If it isn’t going on in Bloomington or Monroe County it doesn’t get covered.” The barbarians at the gate do not come knocking and saying please and it behooves a community newspaper to make its readers aware of the impending invasion.

Bob Zaltsberg:

2. Boots’ Newspapers: The Paper of Montgomery County and the Noblesville Times

These two papers are co-owned by Indiana Republican Senator Phil Boots and must be extensively targeted. Both papers are unavailable online without a subscription, but the editor, Tim Timmons, can be contacted at The Paper of Montgomery County at At the Noblesville Times, you can email him at or use their contact email, which is

3. Courier Press (Evansville)

This paper had a fluff piece concerning the Indiana Republican legislators and ALEC and often quotes from groups like School Choice Indiana.

Eric Bradner (statehouse chief reporter):

Mizell Stewart III (Editor):

4. Emmis Communications

J. Scott Enright, who is the secretary of the corporate school reform group, the Friedman Foundation, also is vice president at Emmis Communications, the mega-media outfit with radio, digital, and publishing outlets in Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York, Austin, and Bulgaria. Emmis received $118,750 last year from Friedman to “educate the public” on school vouchers. In fact, Emmis did the WhyNotIndiana? ads which appeared on-line and in newspapers across Indiana.

In Indianapolis, Emmis owns ESPN 1070 the Fan, Country 97.1 Hank-FM, WIBC 93.1 FM, Soft Rock B105.7, each with a market revenue of $75 million. Their Terre Haute stations include Hi-99 Radio and 105,5 the River., each worth revenue of $7.1 million. Emmis also operates Network Indiana, which is a state network with revenue of $1.5 million which feeds news programming to stations across Indiana. In Indiana, the company also owns the 45,000 circulating Indianapolis Monthly.

You can contact Emmis at

5. Indy Star

Although they have printed a few of my letters, the Indy Star has constantly cheered the corporate school reformers in this state. They often quote from sources spilling propaganda, praise Bennett in editorials, do next to no research in writing their reports, and are in bed with the GEO Foundation’s Kevin Teasley, using his words as gospel every chance they get.

Karen Crotchfelt, President and Publisher:

Matthew Tully: (falls over backwards to support Bennett and others)
Scott Elliott:
Russ Pulliam:

6. Inside Indiana Business

A multimedia outfit, IIB has been in love with the Mind Trust and other corporate school reformers from the get-go and main TV star Gary Dick has interviewed and praised several corporate school reformers. He can be reached at

7. News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne)

This paper is NOT the Journal Gazette, which does outstanding work calling out the corporate school reformers.

Mike Christman: Publisher:
Elbert Starks III:

Leo Morris: Editorial Page Editor:

8. NPR/State Impact Indiana

These reporters often do legitimate stories on education in Indiana, but they fail in what is possible in investigative reporting, too often quoting only corrupt sources and focusing on the wrong questions. The national NPR takes money from the Gates Foundation, one of the biggest promoters of school privatization, so don’t expect to get an honest response from them either.

Ben Skirvin:

Kyle Stokes:

9. Post-Tribune (Merrillville)

Reverend Ray Dix writes editorials for this paper. Dix has had Daniels’ crony and Black Alliance for Educational Options’ Jackie Cissell on his radio show highlighting charter schools. BAEO is a front group set up by the Walton family and several other rich white men whose goal is to drain the public schools through vouchers and set up charters to completely privatize public education. Dix often praises the corporate school reform movement in his pieces, which I have responded harshly to.

Paulette Haddix: Executive Editor:

Rich James: Editorial Page Editor:

Contact Raymond Dix at

10. Wane TV

A member of the LIN Media Corporation, Channel 15 Fort Wayne, WANE refuses to point out conflicts of interest in people like Jamie Garwood who appears on their channel.

Contact Form Page:

Reporter Megan Reust:

LIN Media:
For more details see the original article at the Common Errant web site.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wear Red on May 11

From: _Bunche Mailbox []
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2012 6:22 PM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: Wear Red May 11

Friday May 11th is "Wear Red for Ed" day. This is way you can show your support for public education. The Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education group initiated this as a great way to talk to others about our strong public education system. Your child(ren) are receiving a high quality education at a public school that would cost a good sum of money at a private school. Please help support us by talking about public education to your friends and co-workers and by wearing red May 11th. YOU are our best advocate!