Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vic’s Election Notes on Education #22– October 22, 2014

Dear Friends,

Your work in the next two weeks in 15 races for seats in the Indiana Senate will shape the future of public education in Indiana.

On October 17th, I sent to you an analysis of races for the Indiana House of Representatives based on the votes cast by incumbents for voucher expansion, House Bill 1003 in the 2013 budget session. House Bill 1003 was the most damaging bill to public education in the past two years. This same analysis was applied to candidates for the Indiana Senate.

I urge you to read this message carefully about Indiana Senate candidates who would restore public education to a high priority. Then I urge you to take action before the November 4th election to help one or more of the candidates in the 15 races. The other 10 races are already decided.

Special Note: Be sure to read below and participate if you can in the astounding story of Senate District 39 (Daviess, Greene, Martin & Sullivan and parts of Clay, Knox & Owen Counties), the attempted invasion of the Koch brothers into the Indiana Senate.

[Please note: Indiana Code 3-14-1-17 says that government employees including public school employees may not “use the property of the employee’s government employer to” support the “election or defeat of a candidate” and may not distribute this message “on the government employer’s real property during regular working hours.” Ironically, the law does not prevent private school employees from using computers purchased with public voucher money to distribute campaign materials. Private schools now financed in part by public voucher dollars have retained all rights under Indiana’s voucher laws to engage in partisan political campaigns.]

Two Clarifications Regarding Contests for the Indiana House of Representatives

I was correct in thinking that many would read carefully the “Election Notes” I sent out October 17th about candidates for the Indiana House who support public education. Two clarifications are in order:

House District 60 - Morgan & Monroe Counties

My friends in District 60 who support Daymon Brodhacker for election over incumbent Peggy Mayfield wanted me to make clear that District 60 includes a large portion of Monroe County as well as Morgan County. They are working hard in both counties to elect an educator who strongly supports public education in place of incumbent Peggy Mayfield who voted in favor of voucher expansion in 2013 and also voted for historically low public school funding increases (2% in 2013-14 and only 1% in 2014-15) that have left schools in dire financial condition and often unable to simply maintain current programs for students.

House District 4 – Porter County (Union, Center & Washington townships and parts of Liberty & Jackson townships).

My friends in District 4 who support Deb Porter for election over incumbent Ed Soliday wanted me to broaden my analysis to review more than the vote on 2013 voucher expansion to determine support of public education. When that is done, the historic 2011 voucher battle which for the first time gave public money directly to private school parents found Representative Soliday on the wrong side of the interests of public school students. He voted yes to vouchers in 2011. He also supported the low funding levels for public schools in the 2013 budget.

That 2011 voucher bill supported by Representative Soliday was a watershed moment for our generation. On April 28, 2011, I wrote in “Vic’s Statehouse Notes #86”:
“I am more than sad to report that at 4:00pm yesterday, April 27th, the voucher bill passed the Indiana House of Representatives 56-43. The vote to concur with the Senate version of HB 1003 completed the bill. It now goes to the Governor for his signature.

This is not just another important bill. Whether to privatize Indiana’s public schools has been the question of our generation. I first heard of the proposal in 1978 and have fought the concept ever since. The question has now been answered for Indiana pending a court review for constitutionality. Based on this vote, Indiana will fund a system of private schools as well as a system of traditional schools and charter schools. Indiana will now become a leading state in the voucher experiment. I think it is a monumental mistake, but it is done.”
Deb Porter has never supported vouchers throughout her long career as a public school teacher. Clearly, she deserves the support of public school advocates in this important race.

You Can Make a Huge Difference in the Senate in the Next Two Weeks!

The grassroot advocates for public education need to go to work in a big way in the days left before the November 4th election. Public schools were hammered by the Indiana General Assembly elected in the last election. The assault on public education can be stopped in 15 Senate races outlined below, analyzed in relation to the damaging vote on voucher expansion, House Bill 1003.

The pundits who have announced that there is no interest in this election must be proved wrong by your actions to help public school students regain a high priority in the Indiana General Assembly.

Voucher Expansion: The Ultimate Offense to Public Education

The ultimate offense to public education in the 2013 session of this current General Assembly was voucher expansion, House Enrolled Act 1003. It turned an already harmful 2011 voucher program into a subsidy for private school tuition for students who had already been going to private schools for all of their school careers. It was no longer about helping parents make a choice. The parents had already made the choice. HEA 1003 was about taxpayers paying the bill for private and parochial tuition, a step toward the leadership’s goal of getting taxpayers to pay the entire bill for the religious education of all private school students.

We testified repeatedly that the bill would bring a huge new fiscal cost to the taxpayers, ending the overall savings to the state provided by the 2011 voucher program. The majority passed the bill anyway, and fourteen months later when the figures were in, IDOE announced that voucher expansion cost the state $15.7 million. That was subsidy money going to private school parents and to private schools.

To the legislators who voted for voucher expansion, that was a bigger priority than preschool, which got $10 million, than gifted and talented programs, which got $12 million, than English as a Second Language programs, which got $5 million, and certainly more than teacher professional development programs, which got $0 in the new budget.

The 2013 budget gave historically low increases to public education: 2% in 2013-14 and 1% in 2014-15. Indiana had never treated public school so poorly in good economic times. They had a huge surplus available. The majority of the current Indiana General Assembly simply turned against public education, both in funding and in expanding vouchers.

Voucher expansion had bipartisan opposition thanks to the intense lobbying by public school advocates. In the final Senate vote, 10 Republicans and all 13 Democrats voted against it. They should all be thanked for this crucial final day vote.

Voucher expansion passed in the Senate by the vote of 27 Republicans. Voters who support public education now have their only chance to speak, and that chance is in the November 4th election. If legislators who passed voucher expansion can waltz to easy victories, the decline of public education in Indiana will be confirmed. Public school advocates need to take action before November 4th to restore a priority for public education in the Indiana General Assembly.

Here is the analysis of Senate District races where public school supporters can make a difference:
Group 1: In 4 races, incumbents who failed public schools by voting for voucher expansion are running against opponents who support public education.

Group 2: In 4 races, incumbents who stood up for public schools by voting against voucher expansion are running against opponents who either support vouchers or have not made support of public education part of their campaign.

Group 3: In 1 race, an incumbent who stood up for public schools by voting against voucher expansion is running against an opponent who supports public education.

Group 4: In 6 races, incumbents have left the arena and there is a contest for the open seat.
That totals 15 Senate races where public school advocates can have an impact.

In the other 10 races, the result for public education is already clear, as follows:
Group 5: In 3 races, incumbents who stood up for public education have no opponent in the November 4th election. They should be welcomed backed and thanked for their support of public schools. They include Republican Senators Alting and Tomes and Democratic Senator Tallian.

Group 6: In 7 races, incumbents who failed public schools by voting for voucher expansion have no opponent. They include Republican Senators Zakas, Kruse, Banks, Holdman, Buck, Eckerty and Merritt.
I strongly urge you to review the 15 Senate races outlined below. If you live in one, go to work there for the candidate who supports public education. If you don’t live in one, pick out one or two others to support by:
  • Contacting friends or family who do live in those districts
  • Joining the many volunteers who are already working hard on behalf of the candidates who are supporting public education.
  • Sending a contribution
This is what the battle to save public education in Indiana looks like. I applaud any efforts you can make in the next two weeks to convince friends and neighbors to support public education when they vote!

Group 1: Incumbents Who Have Failed Public Education

A total of 4 incumbent members of the Senate degraded public education by voting to expand the private school voucher program and now have an opponent who supports public education.

The incumbents deserve an F for voting to expand vouchers in the historic 2103 voucher expansion vote on House Bill 1003.

Their opponents deserve the support of all public school advocates. If public education is going to reverse its losses in the General Assembly, a new group needs to be elected. I urge you to pick one or two of these races and get involved:

Senate District 23 – All of Fountain, Montgomery, Vermillion, Parke and Warren Counties and portions of Boone County

Incumbent Phil Boots (R) voted to expand vouchers. Bob Burkett (D), owner of a State Farm Insurance Agency who supports public education, is challenging him and deserves the support of public school advocates. Bob writes on his website:
"I want to support the public schools that we have. I am afraid that, as we reduce the financial support for schools and extend privatization, we will return to education for the wealthy only."
"The Republican Super Majority seems dedicated to privatizing our public schools. We cannot fund both public and private schools without reducing our commitment to public education."
Senator Boots voted against vouchers in 2011, but he turned the tables and voted against public education in 2013 with a vote for voucher expansion, telling constituents that he thought there was only one more bite out of this apple. His comment shows he has misjudged the resolve of Governor Pence’s voucher supporters to keep biting this apple until all private schools tuition is paid for by taxpayers.

Senator Boots was one of three Senators who changed their tune and voted for voucher expansion in 2013 when they had voted against vouchers in the historic 2011 vote. The others were Senators Nugent and Zakas. The 2013 voucher expansion bill passed the Senate 27-23, so if these three Senators had voted no, the bill would have failed. This election is the only time that voters who support public education can hold Senator Boots accountable for his vote to expand vouchers.

Senate District 29 – Portions of Boone, Hamilton and Marion Counties

Incumbent Mike Delph (R) voted to expand vouchers. J.D. Ford (D), who has a Masters Degree in Education from Purdue and works for the Theta Chi Fraternity based in Indianapolis, is challenging him and deserves the support of public school advocates. His website says: “To help Indiana's public schools be the best they can be, I'd like to partner with Superintendent Ritz's office, the Indiana State Teacher's Association, the Indiana Parent Teacher Association, and any other entity that would be willing to work with me. It "takes a village" and is a team effort. Having healthy schools is a positive for all Hoosiers and will definitely attract businesses looking to call Indiana home.”

J. D. Ford sponsored a rally for Public Education along with Patrick Lockhart on the steps of the Monument Circle in Downtown Indianapolis on October 11th. At the rally, he opposed vouchers and school privatization and he supported better funding for public education.

Senate District 41 – Bartholomew County & portions of Johnson County

Incumbent Senator Greg Walker (R) voted to expand vouchers. Andy Talarzyk (D), who works in marketing and who supports public education, is challenging him and deserves the support of public school advocates. Andy writes on his website:
  • "I am firmly opposed to the idea of spending Taxpayer money to fund private schools, religious organizations, or charter schools."
  • “I worry that my children will go to severely underfunded public schools. That my tax money will instead be paying for out of state, for profit corporations, private schools and religious organizations. I worry that we will not have quality educators, because they will have relocated to a state where they're appreciated."
Libertarian Damian Stanziano is also running in District 41.

Senate District 45 – Jefferson, Scott & Switzerland Counties & parts of Clark and Jackson Counties

Incumbent Senator Jim Smith (R) voted to expand vouchers. Julie Berry (D), a former 3-term County Commissioner in Jefferson County and a 6th-generation Hoosier who supports public education, is challenging him and deserves the support of public school advocates. Julie writes on her website:
  • “We believe that Stabilization of our Public Schools deserves the Indiana General Assembly’s primary focus. Some of the reforms touted by the current administration and the Republican supermajority in the Statehouse benefit out-of-state, for-profit corporations over what is best for Indiana students. Public Schools are struggling in southern Indiana, and throughout the state, with fluctuating budgets, due in part to Vouchers and Charter Schools. The majority of Indiana’s students will remain in public schools and it is our duty to maintain and improve Indiana’s public school system.”
  • “The Indiana Dept. of Education estimates that Vouchers cost our state $16 million this past school year. Meanwhile, when adjusting for inflation, our average teacher salary has declined – which is not the best way to keep talented teachers in our state classrooms. Our teachers deserve our respect and our help in making Indiana a leader in educational attainment.”
Group 2: Incumbents Who Have Supported Public Education

Four incumbent members of the Senate who voted against the 2013 expansion of the voucher program now have an opponent who either supports vouchers or has not made public education part of the campaign.

These incumbents deserve an A for voting to oppose voucher expansion in the historic 2103 vote on House Bill 1003.

These good friends of public education need your strong support to return to the General Assembly. I urge you to pick one or two of these races and get involved. Here are the races where you can help incumbents loyal to public education:

Senate District 1 – Lake County

Incumbent Senator Frank Mrvan (D) voted to support public education by voting against voucher expansion and deserves the support of public school advocates. He has consistently opposed vouchers and supported better funding for public schools. His opponent is Ken Stevenson (R).

Senate District 25 – Madison County

Incumbent Senator Tim Lanane (D) voted to support public education by voting against voucher expansion and deserves the support of public school advocates. As Senate Minority Leader, he has strongly supported public education and has always opposed vouchers. His opponent is Libertarian Mark Vogel.

Senate District 38 – Vigo and Clay Counties

Incumbent Senator Tim Skinner (D) voted to support public education by voting against voucher expansion and deserves the support of public school advocates. As a retired high school social studies teacher, he has been a pillar of support for public education in the Senate and of opposition to vouchers and privatization. His speeches and votes in support of public education have won the admiration of public school advocates across Indiana. His reelection is vital, but his district was redrawn in 2010, and now he needs the help of those statewide supporters in his reelection fight. His opponent is Jon Ford (R).

Senate District 47 – Washington, Harrison, Orange, Crawford, Perry and part of Dubois Counties

Incumbent Senator Richard Young (D) voted to support public education by voting against voucher expansion and deserves the support of public education advocates. I have been observing the General Assembly for 18 years, and Senator Young has consistently supported public education and opposed private school vouchers. His opponent is Republican Erin Houchin.

Erin Houchin most recently has been on the staff of Senator Dan Coats who supports private school vouchers at the federal level. Her Facebook page on education says she will “invest in education by directing more dollars to the classroom.” This phrase, pioneered by Governor Daniels, means that she believes that schools are inefficient and have too much overhead, and if they would only cut the overhead, they would have enough money to help students. By using this phrase, she is saying she does not think the budgets for public schools are too small, but rather the schools are misdirecting the funding.

Try telling the cash-strapped districts of Washington, Harrison, Orange, Crawford and Perry County that they have enough money but they are just spending it on the wrong things.

The “Dollars to the Classroom” program of Governor Daniels was narrowly passed into law in 2006 and resulted in burdensome annual reports using a flawed system sorting every expenditure into either classroom dollars or overhead dollars. Ironically, the whole purpose of the program was to second-guess the decisions of local school officials, contradicting Erin Houchin’s second point on her education agenda: “Maintain local control of our schools and curriculum.” If she is successful on her first point, local control will take another beating.

If public school advocates in these southern counties want to have an advocate for public schools in the Senate, they need to get behind Senator Young in a big way in the closing two weeks of the campaign. Primary vote totals show that newly drawn reapportionment lines have made him an underdog for reelection.

All of these pro-public education incumbents in Group 2 need your support. Primary vote totals indicate the incumbents in this list with the tightest races where your help is vital include Senator Skinner (SD 38) and Senator Young (SD 47). In fact, Senator Young’s newly drawn district lines have put him at a precarious disadvantage.

Group 3: An Incumbent Who Stood Up for Public Education by Voting Against Voucher Expansion Who Now Has An Opponent Who Also Supports Public Education.

There is one district in this rare situation:

Senate District 46 – Floyd County and part of Clark County

Incumbent Ron Grooms(R) voted to support public education by voting against voucher expansion. His opponent is Chuck Freiberger, a 31-year Floyd County teacher with 14 years of experience as Floyd County Commissioner and 12 years of experience on the Floyd County Council, who opposes vouchers and wants more funding for public education. On his website, he says about Senator Grooms: “He silently went along as his buddies gutted the education budget.”

If we look beyond the 2013 voucher expansion vote to determine which candidate deserves the support of public school advocates, the historic 2011 must be added to the analysis. In “Vic’s Statehouse Notes #82 – April 21, 2011”, I wrote: “Here are the 28 Senators who abandoned the interests of public school students in the most crucial privatization vote of our generation and have endorsed the diversion of public dollars to private and religious school students as well as to home school students:” Senator Grooms, in the first year of his term, was on the list. He voted against public education and for vouchers in a vote where a change of only four Senators would have stopped the voucher program.

No matter what Senator Grooms does now to help public schools, history will show that when he had the chance to protect public education in 2011, he let public education advocates down. On November 4th, Chuck Freiberger deserves the support of public school advocates.

Group 4: Open Seats With No Incumbent

There are six districts in this situation:

Senate District 6 – Lake & Porter Counties

Senator Landske, who voted against the 2013 voucher expansion bill, has retired from a seat she held since 1984, and the open seat is a contest between Rick Niemeyer (R) and Roxanna Hanford (D).

Rick Niemeyer was elected to the Indiana House in 2012. In an interview with the Times of Northwest Indiana on January 11, 2013 as the session began, he said: “Education is a big issue, especially in our area. We need to make sure that the local schools have the tools and the finances that they need to work. Also, with the voucher system now in place, we need to make sure that both those systems are going to work. We are going to be using both. Some (students) will go to the voucher system, some think that’s the best for their children; some will stay in the local schools. We need to make sure they both have the same resources to work with.”

In two key votes at the end of the session, he voted against voucher expansion in the 2013 session and then he voted to support a budget with historically low funding for public schools, giving a paltry 1% increase for the current year of 2014-15. This funding level absolutely contradicts his words that local schools have the “finances they need to work.”

Roxanna Hanford, a business owner with eight years experience as a Newton County Commissioner, said in an endorsement interview with the Times of Northwest Indiana: “On vouchers, I absolutely disagree with it. If you want a private school, you should pay for it.”


The problem of funding addressed by Representative Niemeyer is central to this debate. Since the voucher program became law, lawmakers have not voted to fund public schools well, despite Rick Niemeyer’s words that they should. By keeping public school funding low, lawmakers have degraded services in the public schools and given private schools the edge in the competitive marketing to gain parental choice.

With her clear opposition to vouchers, support of better funding and opposition to the Governor’s formation of CECI, Roxanna Hanford deserves the support of public school advocates on November 4th.

Senate District 15 – Allen County

Senator Wyss, who held the seat since 1985, has retired and the open seat is a contest between Democrat Jack Morris and Republican Liz Brown.

Liz Brown (R), a former member of the Fort Wayne City Council, enthusiastically supported vouchers and voucher expansion when she was interviewed by the editorial committee of the Journal-Gazette. She states on her website: “Allowing parents more choices over their children’s education through charters and vouchers involves parents in their children’s future and raises standards across Indiana.”

Jack Morris (D), who has practiced law in Fort Wayne since 1980, who has run four marathons, and who is a former youth minister, said on an interview with WANE-TV that supporting public education is one of the two major reasons he is running: “With public tax money going to private schools with vouchers, that is really taxing the public school system, and we need to find a way to correct that.” In an interview on 21Alive-TV, he said: "Public education has been under attack in the last few years, money being pulled away under the guise of choice. Those are private choices that need to be funded with private money.”

The contrast in this race is stark. Jack Morris deserves the support of public school advocates.

Senate District 27 - Randolph, Wayne, Union & parts of Fayette, Franklin & Dearborn Counties.

Senator Paul, who held the seat since 1985, has retired and the open seat is a contest between Democrat Jake Hoog, Republican Jeff Raatz and Libertarian Rex Bell.

Jeff Raatz (R), a businessman and a former principal of a private Christian school, supports private school vouchers and has been endorsed by the voucher advocacy group called the Hoosiers for Quality Education. In a recent WCTV candidate interview, he said: “I am an advocate of the school voucher system.”

Jake Hoog (D), who has worked in quality control at Hill-Rom in Batesville for 36 years, has previous experience on the Dearborn County Plan Commission and as chair of the Dearborn County Democrats. On the Vote IN website, he states that “education would be an important focus for him”: “Hoog said he supports Glenda Ritz, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, and said he will fight the "obstructionist" work that Gov. Mike Pence and state Republicans have done to discredit her. “ On a candidate interview on WCTV, he expressed great concern that too much testing is crowding out programs schools have to produce well-rounded citizens.

Libertarian Rex Bell, who supported school choice including online schools and home schools in a recent candidate interview on WCTV, is not a strong supporter of public education, in line with the Libertarian philosophy.

Clearly, Jake Hoog deserves the support of public school advocates in Senate District 27.

Senate District 39 – Daviess, Greene, Martin & Sullivan and parts of Clay, Knox & Owen Counties.

Senator Waterman, who held the seat the since 1994, was ousted in a bruising primary election last May by Eric Bassler, 51% to 49%. That outcome made this an open seat contest between Republican Eric Bassler and Democrat Steve Lindsey.

Senator Waterman was one of ten Republican Senators who supported public education and voted against voucher expansion in 2013. For this vote in support of public schools on HB 1003, he was strongly attacked by Eric Bassler. Aggressive attack ads against Senator Waterman financed by Hoosiers for Economic Growth, funded by Fred Klipsch, and by the Indiana chapter of Americans for Properity, funded by the Koch brothers, hit the airwaves about a week before the May primary. Both groups strongly support private school vouchers and have plenty of money. It was a bitter fight due to the well-funded attack ads, and Senator Waterman, one of the champions of public education in the Senate, lost the fight by 359 votes.

In the fall campaign, Senator Waterman has been campaigning together with Steve Lindsey. On October 6, 2014, Republican Senator Waterman formally endorsed Steve Lindsey, the Democrat, for the November 4th election. In a website posting dated Oct. 6, John Waterman said: “I’ve spent 20 years fighting for working families here in Southwest Indiana. I know Steve is a good Christian conservative and will continue to do what’s best for folks in our community, not what politicians in Indianapolis tell him."

Steve Lindsey responded: “I’m grateful for the support of Senator Waterman. John likes to call me a Reagan Democrat and it’s true. In Indianapolis, I’ll work with Democrats and Republicans to get things done for southwest Indiana and remind those politicians that our state doesn’t end south of I-70. That starts with fighting for a living wage and protecting our local schools.”

“It’s a shame Indianapolis CEOs and corporations are trying to buy our community’s senate seat,” said Lindsey. “Just like John Waterman, I’ll work for the folks right here in Southwest Indiana to create good-paying jobs and protect our public schools.”

Steve Lindsey, a small business owner and former County Commissioner in Greene County, has built a big part of his campaign on protecting public education.

This story should motivate public school advocates in District 39 to actively support Steve Lindsey in the next two weeks. Contact those you know in the cities of Washington, Bloomfield, Linton, Spencer, Sullivan, Loogootee and other areas of District 39.

Can the Koch brothers and big money groups reach into District 39 and change the Senatorial support of public education? The intensity of work by public school advocates talking to their friends and neighbors in the next two weeks in support of Steve Lindsey will answer that question.

Senate District 43 - Jennings, Ohio & parts of Bartholomew, Dearborn, Decatur, Jackson and Ripley Counties.

Senator Nugent, who held the seat since 1978, has retired and the open seat is a contest between Democrat Rudy Howard and Republican Chip Perfect.

Senator Nugent voted against vouchers in 2011, but then switched his vote to support voucher expansion in 2013. If he and the two others who switched in this manner (Senators Boots and Zakas) had maintained their opposition to vouchers, the voucher expansion of 2013 would not have passed.

Chip Perfect (R), a businessman who owns Perfect North Slopes ski resort, supports private school vouchers and has been endorsed by the voucher advocacy group called Hoosiers for Quality Education.

Rudy Howard (D) from Aurora supports public education. His website includes these statements:
  • “As your Senator, I will work with Glenda Ritz to address the challenges and opportunities that face Hoosier students, teachers, and schools. We owe it to our children to leave them with class A schools and a strong Middle Class. I call on you to add your voice to the call for change.”
  • “Public education is a civic obligation not a "consumer choice." Public schools belong to the public. They are the foundation of a strong economy and a free society.”
  • “Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Amen!
Clearly, Rudy Howard deserves the support of public school advocates.

Senate District 48 – Western half of Dubois County &parts of Spencer, Warrick, Gibson, Knox & Pike Counties.

Senator Hume (D), who held the seat for 31 years, has retired and the open seat is a contest between Democrat Larry Vollmer and Republican Mark Messmer.

Mark Messmer (R), a member of the Indiana House of Representatives since 2008, has a clear record in the House that shows he has not supported public education. He voted for voucher expansion in 2013. He voted for vouchers in the historic 2011 legislative battle. He supported the paltry 2013 budget for public schools.

Larry Vollmer (D), a farmer and a Vietnam veteran, is a 13-year member of the Dubois County Commissioners, serving 6 years as President. He issued a statement on October 3, 2014 after receiving the endorsement of local teachers:

“I look forward to working hard for our community and going to Indianapolis to ensure teachers, parents and administrators all have a seat at the table. Unfortunately, lawmakers seem more focused on sending our tax dollars to for-profit schools in Indianapolis than fighting for our local schools. I intend to change that.”

With Mark Messmer’s poor record of support for public education, there is a stark contrast in this race. Larry Vollmer deserves the strong support of public school advocates in Senate District 48.

That Makes 15 Senate Races Where You Can Make a Difference for Public Education!

Thousands of Hoosier parents, educators and community members have wondered why public education has been given such a low priority in the General Assembly. The answer is clear. Legislators have been elected who give public education a low priority.

That can change in this election, and it must change if public education students are going to get the resources they need instead of the stingy budget given to them in the 2013 legislature. Public education advocates are on the ballot in 15 Senate races. They need your support!

Hundreds have been working for months to restore the fortunes of public school students in the legislative process. We need thousands more for the final two weeks of the campaign!

Pick out one or two races and do your part to help public education. As Rudy Howard (Senate District 43) wrote on his campaign website: “Democracy is not a spectator sport.”

Thanks for working to support public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

There is no link between “Vic’s Election Notes on Education” and any organization. Please contact me at to add an email address or to remove an address from the distribution list.

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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