Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #117– February 19, 2013

Dear Friends,

Wednesday afternoon (tomorrow), you have the opportunity to tell your story of frustration with and opposition to the current A-F system implemented this past fall. Senate Bill 416, which “voids the administrative rule that establishes the A through F designations” and requires new designations that “are not based on the measurement of student growth compared against peers” will be given a hearing in the Senate Education Committee beginning at 1:30 pm Wednesday, February 20th, in the Senate Chamber. If you have a story to tell about the flawed school letter grade system that we now have in Indiana, this is the time to tell it to the Senate Committee to help persuade them to endorse a new system.

Wednesday is the last day for Senate Committee meetings in the first half of the session. Participating in this hearing will not be convenient. There are six bills listed for the committee to vote on, and six more bills listed to receive a new hearing. SB 416 is listed last, although that does not mean Chairman Kruse will necessarily take it last. Despite this, I know that many school leaders and community members would be eager to consider this opportunity to help void the current system.

Many people have worked hard to get a hearing for this bill, and it deserves the strong support of public school advocates who want to repair a letter grade system that has unfairly damaged the reputation of many schools. Come and tell your story. The bill also has a section to improve the reading program.

Senate Bill 416, which can be found here, has the support of Glenda Ritz.

I hope that I might see you or one of your colleagues at the hearing on SB 416 to give personal testimony about the problems of Dr. Bennett’s A-F system.

Thanks for all you are doing to support public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

ICPE is working to promote public education and oppose privatization of schools in the Statehouse. I keep hearing reports that some public school supporters read these “Notes” with great interest but don’t translate that interest into joining ICPE. To keep our outstanding lobbyist Joel Hand in place, who testified this past week in Ways and Means about the enormous fiscal cost of the voucher bill, we need all members from last year to renew and we need new members who support public education. Please join us!

Go to www.icpe2011.com for membership and renewal information.

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998.

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