Sunday, October 25, 2009

On the Rush to "Reform"

more from the social studies community on Bennett's disastrous plans for education....from the Indy Star
Harm done in rush to reform social studies education

Posted: October 25, 2009

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and the Indiana Department of Education have failed social studies. In the rush to reform K-12 social studies education, the department is harming students and teachers. The proposed changes to the way Indiana social studies teachers receive and renew their licenses will mean that excellent secondary social studies teachers will lose their jobs. This is not the way to reform K-12 education.

The state implemented an inferior ISTEP social studies test this past spring. Because of the poor quality of the test, we do not know if 40 percent of the students failed the test or if the test failed 100 percent of our students. The test is harming the very students the reform efforts are supposed to be helping.

Finally, the Department of Education is not communicating with schools about the changes in testing and licensure. This failure to communicate is demoralizing public education. Bennett fired most of the area consultants who worked directly with teachers. This means no one is left at the department to work with teachers in the field. Instead, Bennett hired Carol D'Amico to work 16 hours per week for nearly $10,000 per month to "provide a liaison with education stakeholders who contact the superintendent's office regarding the issues areas."

Apparently this doesn't include teachers. Is this a good use of our tax dollars? Is the goal of K-12 educational reform to improve public education or destroy it? We must hold Bennett and the Department of Education accountable for the damage being done to our schools.

Chris McGrew
President, Indiana Council for the Social Studies, Lafayette IN


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