Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #257 – March 8, 2016

Dear Friends,

Political maneuvering by the leadership of the General Assembly to pass voucher expansion has begun.

Reports on the third floor of the Statehouse today are that Senate Bill 334 with its voucher expansion included is being added in its entirety to House Bill 1005.

There will be one final vote on House Bill 1005 in the House and in the Senate.

Let members of the House and Senate know that you oppose HB 1005 and the voucher expansion of SB 334 that it now contains. Tell them you don’t like the maneuvering and that you think voucher expansion is taking Indiana in the wrong direction.

Tell them quickly if possible. While the final votes on HB 1005 are most likely to be tomorrow (Wed., March 9), I’ve been told with one hour notices in effect at the end of the session, it is even possible the votes could come late today (Tuesday, March 8).

Let them know where you stand on voucher expansion in whatever bill they put the language.

What is House Bill 1005?

House Bill 1005 is the bill creating the career pathways program. It became controversial when it allowed the extra compensation for teachers taking on new responsibilities to be planned by a committee of two teachers and one principal instead of through collective bargaining. It passed the House on Feb. 1 by a vote of 78-17 and passed the Senate on Feb. 23 by a vote of 38-11.

The Conference Committee on HB 1005 was held last Thursday, March 3rd. No further public committee hearings are required for HB 1005. By amending SB 334 into HB 1005, no further public Conference Committee meeting on SB 334 language would be necessary. The leadership can just put SB 334 into the HB 1005 Conference Committee report, get four conferees to sign the report, and then take it to a vote for approval in both the House and in the Senate.

If the Democrats who are conferees balk at signing the report, they can be removed and then replaced by a Republican who supports the maneuver.

Let them know that in Indiana’s bicentennial year, the issue of voucher expansion is too important to be the subject of last minute backroom maneuvers.

Contact Legislators in opposition to HB 1005

All of this means that all members of the House and of the Senate must still vote on voucher expansion one more time, but barring further changes voucher expansion will now be in House Bill 1005. Your messages of opposition to voucher expansion continue to make a difference and more messages are now in order for both House and Senate members not only to object to the substance but also to the last minute political maneuvering.

Let them know you oppose voucher expansion because it wasn’t focused on drop out recovery, the stated purpose of the sponsors. Let them know you oppose a general expansion of undefined partial vouchers to promote spring semester transfers. Let them know the expansion of vouchers is the wrong bicentennial message to send to our public schools in 2016.

Of course in this “end of session” flurry, additional changes are possible. Thanks for giving this your attention!

Just let them know you are following their actions on HB 1005 and that you oppose any expansion of private school vouchers.

Thanks for standing up 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 2016 short session. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. 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 www.icpe2011.com 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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