Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #278 – February 20, 2017

Dear Friends,

This morning in a late amendment to House Bill 1384, the House Education Committee voted on an 8-4 party line vote to ease penalties on voucher schools that have a “D” or an “F” for two consecutive years.

Currently voucher schools with a “D” or “F” for two years in a row can’t receive new voucher students although they can continue to take vouchers for current students.

House Bill 1384, a graduation bill, now has been amended to allow voucher schools to request that the State Board of Education “waive or delay” the penalties “if the eligible school demonstrates that a majority of students in the eligible school demonstrates academic improvement during the preceding year.”

The bill does not define the meaning of “academic improvement” in this sentence.

Thus on this Presidents’ Day when many are in the Statehouse to celebrate public education, the House Education Committee wants to give voucher schools another boost by easing the accountability rules.

I disagree.

If you are going to the Statehouse today and can talk with legislators, please ask them why consequences for public schools and charter schools can’t be “waived or delayed” if the “school demonstrates academic improvement during the preceding year”?

If the General Assembly is ready to ease the standards of school accountability, why don’t they allow waivers or delays for all schools, not just voucher schools? They should not show a bias toward voucher schools.

Thanks for your advocacy for public education! Perhaps you are already in the Statehouse for today’s “Celebration of 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 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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