Thursday, September 3, 2015

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #226 – September 3, 2015

From Vic Smith...for anyone who might be planning to be near Merrillville on September 10, 2015. ICPE is planning a meeting in Fort Wayne on October 3. Click here for more information.


Dear Friends,

After an excellent meeting last Saturday in Indianapolis, the second Indiana Coalition for Public Education meeting will be held in Merrillville on Thursday, September 10th. State Superintendent Glenda Ritz has told us she will be there, and a panel of area legislators will also be there.

We hope you and your friends who would like to restore public education to a high priority will be there as well!

The meeting will be on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at 6:30 pm CDT in the Merrillville High School Auditorium, Entrance M, 276 E. 68th Place, Merrillville.


State Superintendent Glenda Ritz confirmed her appearance on September 10th in Merrillville while addressing the meeting last Saturday. In addition, a panel of four area legislators will be speaking:
  • Sen. Rick Niemeyer – R, District 6
  • Sen. Earlene Rogers – D, District 3
  • Rep. Harold Slager – R, District 15
  • Rep. Vernon Smith – D, District 14
Six Questions about the Future of Public Education in Indiana

The future of public education is now in play in every session of the General Assembly and in every election. The discussion on September 10th will focus on six questions that we have asked our speakers to address:

1. What do you see coming up in the 2016 legislative session that might help or hurt public schools? What priority do you place on providing public funding to private schools?

2. What is your position on expanding or curtailing the choice scholarship voucher program, now using public money to pay for 29,000 private school vouchers?

3. What is your position on the Scholarship Granting Organization tax credit program? There have been bills to automatically give higher state funding to SGO tax credits if donation levels reach certain goals. Are we going to continue to see this concept come up in future sessions?

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. Are we likely to see new legislation to change the role of high stakes testing or reduce the amount of testing? Do we need legislative action to allow parents to opting out of testing without penalizing students or their schools?

6. How do you as legislators react to the current duplication of services between the State Board of Education staff and the Indiana Department of Education staff?

We are pleased that State Superintendent Ritz and the four area legislators have responded to our invitation.

Please come on September 10th and get involved in ICPE’s efforts to support public education.

I hope you can support public education in Indiana by coming to our ICPE meeting on September 10th.

A flyer about the September 10th program is attached for you to share with others who support public education and might come to this meeting.

If you can’t come on that date, please consider coming to one of the subsequent meetings in five other cities around Indiana. The next is on Thursday, September 17th at West Lafayette High School at 7:00 pm EDT.

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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