Friday, August 7, 2015

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #223 – August 6, 2015

Dear Friends,

We have learned definitively in the past four years that whoever holds the office of Governor – not the State Superintendent but the Governor -- carries the most weight in deciding whether Indiana’s public schools get support and funding and whether public education flourishes or recedes in Indiana.

Four candidates have declared that they want to run for Governor in 2016. The campaign is on.

The Indiana Coalition for Public Education has invited all four candidates in a letter mailed on July 20th to discuss six questions about public education with ICPE members and prospective members at a series of seven ICPE membership meetings throughout Indiana.

Please check out the list of meetings below and plan to come to one or more. Bring along a friend who supports public education! Membership meetings are open to all ICPE members and those who are considering membership.

Seven ICPE Meetings

All who support public education are welcome to come to one or more of the fall meetings:

Saturday, August 29 – Indianapolis Dean Evans Center, 8550 Woodfield Crossing Blvd., 2 pm (E.D.T.)

Thursday, September 10 – Lowell Lowell High School Auditorium, 2051 East Commercial Ave., 6:30 pm (C.D.T .)

Thursday, September 17 – West Lafayette West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School Auditorium, 1105 N. Grant Street, 7 pm (E.D.T.)

Saturday, October 3 – Fort Wayne Ivy Tech Coliseum Campus Auditorium, 3800 N. Anthony Blvd., 2 pm (E.D.T.)

Tuesday, October 13 –Bloomington City Hall, 401 North Morton, 7 pm (E.D.T.)

Tuesday, October 20 – Evansville Central Library, 200 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., 6:30 (C.D.T.)

Wednesday, October 21 – New Albany Location TBA, 7 pm (E.D.T.)

Please note the northwest Indiana meeting (Sept. 10th) and the southwest Indiana meeting (Oct. 20) are on Central time.

Six Questions

You are probably familiar with the four declared gubernatorial candidates, listed alphabetically:
  • John Gregg
  • Mike Pence
  • Glenda Ritz
  • Karen Tallian
Since ICPE is a bipartisan nonprofit advocacy group in support of public education, all four candidates were invited in exactly the same way to speak or to send a spokesperson empowered to speak on their behalf to address six key questions:

1. As Governor, what priority would you give to public education in Indiana and what priority would you give to providing public funding to private schools?

2. As Governor, would you work to expand or to curtail the choice scholarship voucher program, now using public money to pay for 29,000 private school vouchers? What steps would you take to expand or reduce the program?

3. As Governor, would you work to expand or to reduce the Scholarship Granting Organization tax credit program? Would you support or oppose an escalator clause giving higher state funding to SGO tax credits automatically if donation levels reach certain goals?

4. What role do you see for public schools in holding communities together and supporting the civic participation of young citizens in our democracy? How is that role changing as our public school system in Indiana is increasingly privatized?

5. How would you change the role of high stakes testing in Indiana to allow for more instructional time and to promote attention to subjects other than the tested subjects of language arts and math? What is your position on parents opting out of testing?

6. How would you address the current duplication of services between the State Board of Education staff and the Indiana Department of Education staff?

To date, we have not had a response from any of the four candidates, but we are confident that at least some of the candidates will want to address Indiana citizens who support public education in these fall ICPE meetings.

We will keep you updated on how the candidates respond. If you know the candidates, let them know you are eager to have them participate in these meetings.

Meanwhile, mark your calendars and make plans to attend one or more of the fall meetings.

Thanks for your advocacy for public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand continues to represent ICPE during the interim study committee meetings in August and September. Our work in support of public education in the Statehouse goes on. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

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. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana.


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