Monday, December 23, 2013

Letters: Pence Obtuse on School Performance

NEIFPE member Lenny Duff wrote this letter about the A-F grading system last August...
Published: August 22, 2013 3:00 a.m.

I was taken aback by the comments made by Gov. Pence in (a recent) article related to ISTEP glitches and the Tony Bennett scandal, which, by the way, is an Indiana government administration scandal, not Bennett acting as a lone rogue warrior.

Gov. Pence’s comment — “We grade our kids every day. We ought to be willing to grade our schools every year” — made me think about Andy Dufresne (“Shawshank Redemption”) when he asks Warden Norton how he can be so obtuse in regard to his insensitive comments on how Andy may be innocent.

Children in classrooms are graded upon criteria they are taught and therefore held accountable to learn and retain. Are schools by virtue of the A-F grading system graded on such objective measures of performance?

Is the governor being honest with himself when making comments such as these when he knows very well that the socioeconomic and demographic circumstances within different schools makes it impossible to exclusively blame the schools for their poor performance?

Am I to understand that bad teachers and bad administrators within public schools are the reason for households that do not have the dad, time or resources to assist in the education of their children? Are Indiana taxpayers being held accountable for economic inequalities and the impact to public school performance?

Gov. Pence’s adamant support to pump millions of dollars into parochial and private schools, all the while leaving public schools with inadequate funding to raise the bar on performance, would indicate to me that the Indiana taxpayers are taking the fall. What does an Indiana future look like when the public school system is only left with those who cannot afford to pay the difference between the cost of a private school and the amount of a voucher? Who, again, gets left behind? Gov. Pence — obtuse. Is it deliberate?

Lenny R. Duff

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