Monday, November 7, 2016

Vic’s Election Notes on Education #44– November 6, 2016

Dear Friends,

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


This election is so close in Indiana that public education advocates could swing the election.

For the sake of the future of public education in Indiana, making a final effort to get friends and family to support the strongest public education candidates such as John Gregg, Glenda Ritz, Evan Bayh and pro-public education legislative candidates such as Coach Phil Webster (Senate District 35) is extremely important.

The full list of letter grades on public education for incumbent legislators was included in the previous #43 edition of “Vic’s Election Notes on Education.” The ICPE letter grades can also be seen at

I urge you to make a few more calls or email contacts in these final hours. A few votes could make all the difference!
[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.]
John Gregg

I have detailed John Gregg’s support of public education in editions #27, #34, #38 and #42 of “Vic’s Election Notes on Education.” John Gregg said on September 26th at the ISBA Conference at the Indianapolis Convention Center: “When my running mate and I win, that is the moment the war against public education ends.” (Indianapolis Star, 9-27-16, p.6A)

These are game-changing words. John Gregg deserves your active support!

Glenda Ritz

I have detailed Glenda Ritz’s support of public education in editions #35, #36, #37, #41 and #42 of “Vic’s Election Notes on Education.” Glenda Ritz has always been a strong supporter of public education and has refused to accept contributions from the biggest pro-voucher group called Hoosiers for Quality Education.

Follow the money. Jennifer McCormick, running against Glenda Ritz, received $30,000 from HQE last summer and another $60,000 in October, as reported in Secretary of State records, enabling her to fund last minute television ads. There is no question that Hoosiers for Quality Education, the prime advocate for supporting home schools with tax money via a proposal called Education Savings Accounts, would have strong influence if Jennifer McCormick is elected.

Evan Bayh

I have not previously written about the Bayh-Young Senate race. I seldom write about federal elections because the focus of Indiana public education policies is in the Statehouse, a fact which Evan Bayh has helped to maintain by his contributions to federal policy, a story explained below.

I was moved to reflect on the pro-public education record of Evan Bayh after seeing a startling fact in the headlines of the Indianapolis Star last week. Groups outside of Indiana have spent $14 million for pro-Evan Bayh ads and $24 million for pro-Todd Young ads. That’s $38 million in outside money for ads, and not one addressed positions on public education!

So here, at no charge, is your update on the historic Bayh-Young contest in relation to public education.

Todd Young strongly supports private school vouchers. His voting record is clear. That is all that needs to be said.

Evan Bayh has a long history of supporting public education going back to his years as Governor. Private school vouchers were first proposed in the 1995 General Assembly when the House turned Republican, but the proposal did not pass while Bayh was Governor.

Then Senator Bayh had a key role in late December 2000 when President-Elect Bush “invited about twenty members of Congress to meet with him” on the education issue in Austin. (Andrew Rudalevige, 2002). Evan Bayh played a key role in getting George W. Bush to agree to exclude private school vouchers from the education plan that was taking shape which later became No Child Left Behind. This crucial contribution should be recognized and valued as the Donald Trump plan to divert $20 billion in Title 1 money from student reading programs to pay for private school tuition is under debate. We need Evan Bayh in the U.S. Senate to fight any such plan!

On November 5th, the Indianapolis Star ran a front page story about a staff member of Americans for Prosperity going door to door in Carmel to talk voters out of voting for Evan Bayh. Public school advocates should know that Americans for Prosperity is a wealthy group funded by the Koch brothers that opposes public education and strongly promotes private school vouchers. When pro-voucher groups held rallies in the Statehouse in recent years with hundreds of private school students bussed in on a school day, Americans for Prosperity was the financial sponsor and paid for the T-shirts. When Republican Senator Waterman in Senate District 39 voted to support public education and against the 2011 and 2013 voucher bills, Americans for Prosperity generously funded a candidate in the Republican primary who defeated Senator Waterman 51% to 49%.

Americans for Prosperity, with their vast financial resources, is out there working against Evan Bayh in large part because he supports public education. For the sake of public education, I hope you will support Evan Bayh and then speak up for Evan Bayh among your family and friends in these final hours before the November 8th election. Every vote to help public education makes a difference in a tight election!

I urge you to keep working Monday and Tuesday to protect public education at the ballot box!

Thanks for your strong support for public education throughout this election campaign!

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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