Friday, February 10, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #274 – February 10, 2017

Dear Friends,

Here is your chance to stand up for public education! Come to the Statehouse on Presidents’ Day to support public education!

On February 20th, you along with your friends, family and colleagues are invited to a “Celebration of Public Education”.

Lunch is available at 12:30 (register by Feb. 15). Student choirs begin at 1:30. Speakers begin at 2:00 in the North Atrium.

These are difficult times for public education, an institution that has undergirded our democracy for 180 years:

  • On Tuesday US Senators voted to confirm a private school voucher advocate with no professional experience in public schools as US Secretary of Education.
  • Governor Holcomb has recommended a meager 1% budget increase in general fund tuition support during a time when inflation is now running at 1.7%. Public school programs would have to be cut just to keep up with inflation. His recommended increase in the second year of the biennium is only 2% but his budget would keep a surplus of $2 billion.
  • Bills filed in both the House and the Senate seek to end the concept of public education and common schools written into Indiana’s 1851 Constitution and give public money directly to parents without accountability or oversight, using the deceiving name “Education Savings Accounts.”
  • House Bill 1004 would use the high-profile and popular pre-kindergarten expansion bill as a tool to expand private school vouchers, giving a lifetime K-12 voucher to students who have received a pre-K grant “at any time.”
Public education has been under attack for a long time. For an even longer time, public education has been a tremendous cornerstone to the progress in Indiana that we celebrated in last year’s bicentennial.

It’s time to celebrate and support public education!

Public officials in the Statehouse need to put a higher priority on PUBLIC education. Only constituents and voters can get them to do that. That’s where we need your presence in the Statehouse. I hope to see you there!

Partners and Details

Many groups are in the coalition partnering to support the “Celebration of Public Education” on Presidents’ Day. Others may be added. In alphabetical order, they are:

AFT Indiana

American Association of University Women

Concerned Clergy

Indiana Coalition for Public Education

Indiana Parent Teacher Association

Indiana Small & Rural Schools Association

Indiana State Teachers Association

Indiana Urban Schools Association

Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education

Speakers at 2:00 pm in the North Atrium are being coordinated by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, and Joel Hand will serve as MC.

Displays highlighting a sampling of great things happening in public schools are invited. If you want to reserve a display table for your group or school, go to:

Lunch will be available on the 4th floor courtesy of the ISTA. A lunch count is requested by February 15th by emailing:

Bring new and gently used classroom supplies for ISTA ReSupply and book donations to celebrate Read Across America.

I hope to see you as we celebrate 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 is again representing ICPE in the new budget session which began on January 3, 2017. 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 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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