Thursday, March 2, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #282 – March 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

If you want to keep your power as a voter to elect the Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction, as Hoosier voters have done for 166 years, these are your 26 heroes who voted “no” to SB 179, a bill to switch this power from voters to the governor:
Senator Becker, Senator Glick, Senator Leising, Senator Stoops

Senator Bohacek, Senator Grooms, Senator Melton, Senator Tallian

Senator Breaux, Senator Head, Senator Mishler, Senator Taylor

Senator Crane, Senator Kenley, Senator Mrvan, Senator Tomes

Senator Crider, Senator Koch, Senator Niemeyer, Senator Young

Senator Doriot, Senator Kruse, Senator Niezgodski, Senator Ford

Senator Lanane, Senator Randolph
Before the Senators return on Monday for the “second half” of the session, I hope you will send a message of thanks to any or all of these Senators for standing up for the power of voters and for keeping our democracy in Lincoln’s words “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

This issue is still up in the air. In the second half of the session, these Senators will be pressured to change their vote and support the appointment of a “secretary of education” by the Governor in House Bill 1005, a bill that passed the House removing any requirement that the appointee ever lived in Indiana and, unbelievably, opening the door to appointing a person with no experience as a teacher or administrator. No qualifications for this office are included in House Bill 1005.

Here is a key point: The Senate has a rule regarding a defeated bill that says “that exact language or substantially similar language shall be considered decisively defeated and shall not be considered again during the session.”

Ask the 26 Senators listed above to take the position that they have “decisively defeated” the bill to appoint the State Superintendent. If all 26 stick to that position, attempts to resurrect the bill will fail.

Also ask the 23 Senators who voted for the bill to uphold the Senate rule that “decisively defeated” bill language shall not be considered again until the next session. Even though they supported SB 179, they should take the position that it is fundamental to uphold Senate rules. The 23 Senators to contact on this point are:

Senator Alting, Senator Charbonneau, Senator Houchin, Senator Ruckelshaus

Senator Bassler, Senator Delph, Senator Long, Senator Sandlin

Senator Boots, Senator Eckerty, Senator Merritt, Senator Smith

Senator Bray, Senator Freeman, Senator Messmer, Senator Walker

Senator Brown, Senator Hershman, Senator Perfect, Senator Zay

Senator Buck, Senator Holdman, Senator Raatz
One Senator who was excused and did not vote on the bill was Senator Zakas, who should also be contacted on these points.

If you want to maintain your power as a voter in our democracy, it’s time to go to work. This issue will be decided in the Senate, so please contact any and all Senators to tell them how you feel about keeping or losing the power to elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“The Lawmakers”

For more information on this topic, the weekly television show “The Lawmakers” on WFYI will feature this subject on their show that airs in Indianapolis on Friday evening, March 3rd. At last report, the panel on this program will include Joel Hand, our well known and well respected ICPE lobbyist, who will speak up for keeping the election of the State Superintendent in the hands of voters. Check local channels to see when “The Lawmakers” is on in your area.

The grassroots need to be heard. If you want to keep the election of our State Superintendent in the hands of the people, contact any or all Senators and tell them how you feel.

Thanks for your advocacy 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 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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