Thursday, June 2, 2016

Vic’s Election Notes on Education #34– June 2, 2016

Dear Friends,

Note: There is no link between “Vic’s Election Notes on Education” and any organization.

Representative Christina Hale, a strong advocate for public education in the General Assembly, is an excellent choice by John Gregg to be our next Lieutenant Governor.

I am happy to endorse her candidacy and to recommend that all voters who put support of public education at the top of their priorities get behind the John Gregg/ Christina Hale ticket.

[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.]

Christina Hale and Public Education

I first met Christina Hale at a meeting during the fall of 2012 where I spoke about public education and she was introduced as a candidate for House District 87.

She was running for the House seat of Representative Cindy Noe, one of 56 Republicans who voted to pass the private school voucher law in the previous General Assembly over the objections of public school advocates across Indiana. Christina Hale challenged Representative Noe after that historic session and won a narrow victory in the November 2012 election.

Once in the General Assembly, Representative Hale has strongly supported public education. She opposed Governor Pence’s massive expansion of the private school voucher program in 2013, an expansion that cost taxpayers an added expense of $40 million in 2014-15 according to figures documented in the state’s annual financial report on the voucher program. She voted against the 2015 budget which raised the money going to K-8 private school vouchers and to private school tax credit scholarships by $10 million over two years. In 2016, she voted against the bill to expand vouchers by extending applications to begin spring semester.

Christina Hale has established a record that all advocates for public education can get behind.

Mike Pence vs. John Gregg

The tickets for the gubernatorial race in Indiana are now set.

Mike Pence and his running mate Eric Holcomb strongly support the continuous annual expansion of private school vouchers. They clearly favor private schools and using taxpayer money to privatize education in Indiana.

Governor Pence has thrown Governor Mitch Daniels’ advice to “try public school first” under the bus. In his first legislative session in 2013, Governor Pence’s expansion law added four paths to eligibility for vouchers which allowed thousands of students who had never tried public schools to get a taxpayer funded voucher to go to the private or religious school that they had always attended. There was no new choice made, but they still got a Choice Scholarship. This was done without telling the taxpayers that it would cost $40 million per year, a figure documented for 2014-15 in the state report on Choice Scholarships issued in June, 2015.

John Gregg and his running mate Christina Hale strongly support public education and oppose the expansion of private school vouchers. They clearly support public schools and focusing taxpayer money on public schools.

John Gregg has made it clear in a 2015 speech that I heard that when he is elected “the war on public schools will end.” He said he is “100% against vouchers.” He said he would oppose any expansion of vouchers with a veto if necessary. He said we should separate voucher expenses as an independent line item in the budget for transparency, a step that Governor Pence has refused to take.

The record is clear and the choice is clear about which ticket will best support public education.

All voters who give a high priority to supporting public education in Indiana should note the stark difference in the candidates in the way they support public schools and get behind the Gregg/Hale ticket.

The future of public education in Indiana is riding on this election. The stakes are high in our bicentennial year.

Thanks for standing up in support of 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. 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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