Monday, May 7, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #322 – May 7, 2018

Dear Friends,

Two questions:
  • Shouldn’t the students of Muncie public schools be guaranteed the protection of the bullying prevention law?
  • What’s wrong with having Ball State follow the education laws of Indiana when they take over the Muncie Community public schools?
The unprecedented experiment in HB 1315 to have Ball State run Muncie public schools “subject only to” following 29 out of hundreds of Indiana’s education laws cries out for an amendment. Allowing a public school district to follow only a small list of education laws is a first in Indiana history.

As currently written, the bill will (1) remove important protections for students, (2) remove community protections, (3) remove basic standards, and (4) remove opportunities for state grants for student programs.

It’s a flawed plan that has received little attention. For the safety of Muncie public school students and to preserve accountability to the Muncie community, HB 1315 must be amended.

Yet after a two hour hearing on HB 1315 today in the Legislative Council, the bill was approved with no amendments for consideration in the May 14th special session. The vote was 10-4, a party line vote.

To restore the laws protecting Muncie students and other important laws, contact your legislators and contact Ball State to ask them to delete Section 3 (c) on pages 32 and 33 of the proposed draft of House Bill 1315 ss.

How Does HB 1315 Remove Protections for Muncie Students?

Under this unprecedented experiment, Ball State can ignore:
  • the bullying prevention law (IC 20-30-5-5.5)
  • the law requiring instruction regarding child abuse and child sexual abuse (IC 20-30-5-5.7)
  • the law requiring a restraint and seclusion plan intended to reduce restraint and seclusion (IC 20-20-40)
  • the law requiring instruction in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (IC 20-30-5-20)
  • the law requiring teaching the principles of hygiene, communicable diseases and disease prevention (IC 20-30-5-9)
How Does HB 1315 Remove Accountability to the Muncie Community?

Under this unprecedented experiment, Ball State can ignore:
  • the law requiring a School Corporation Annual Performance Report (IC 20-20-8)
  • the law requiring superintendent contract transparency (IC 20-26-5-4.3)
  • the law that contracts must be posted on the internet (IC 20-26-5-4.7)
  • the new law requiring a policy to check employment references (IC 20-26-5-10.5)
How Does HB 1315 Lower Basic Standards?

Under this unprecedented experiment, Ball State can ignore:
  • the law requiring superintendents to have a Masters degree from an accredited institution (IC 20-26-5-4)
  • the law restricting teachers in the district from serving on the school board (IC 20-26-4-11)
  • the law requiring the singing of the national anthem (IC 20-30-3-3)
How Does HB 1315 Remove Opportunities for Grants for Student Programs?

Under this unprecedented experiment, Ball State can ignore:
  • the law to receive technology grants (IC 20-20-13)
  • the law to receive arts education grants (IC 20-20-24)
  • the law to receive Alternative Education grants (IC 20-20-33)
  • the law making funds available for bilingual-bicultural programs (IC 20-30-9-13)
This isn’t right.

Ignoring these laws has nothing to do with the financial problems that Muncie is digging out of.

This appears to be one more step in the deconstruction of public education in Indiana.

In the long history of public schools in Indiana, an Indiana public school district has never been allowed to ignore the hundreds of education laws except for a cherry-picked few. It’s an ominous signal to the future of the rule of law in Indiana schools.

Ball State should actively dictate an amendment to repair these student protections or else they should withdraw from the plan. Their reputation is at stake.

It saddens me that Ball State is involved in a plan that would remove laws protecting Muncie students and the Muncie community. I am an honors graduate of Ball State, Class of 1969.

The best thing that Ball State could do is to run Muncie public schools based on the education laws that all other public school districts follow by asking for the deletion of Section 3 (c) on pages 32 and 33 in the proposed House Bill 1315ss.

What Can You Do?

If you agree that these changes are needed, please contact your House member or your State Senator this week to let them know that Muncie students should not lose the protection of the bullying prevention law or of any of the hundreds of other laws the Indiana General Assembly has passed.

This experiment to lop off hundreds of Indiana education laws makes no sense. Tell your House member and your State Senator before the May 14th special session that they must make changes to protect Muncie students and the Muncie community.

Even after a two-hour hearing today we still must ask: What is wrong with having Ball State follow the education laws of Indiana when they take over the Muncie Community public schools?

Thank you for your active support 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 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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