Thursday, August 12, 2010

Indiana Education and the Democrats

While it is true the Indiana Democrats need to get motivated on education policy--quite frankly, they're letting Daniels completely control the whole conversation--the leaps of logic here are stunning.  There's not research that says that merit-pay works or that charter schools are the answer.  In fact, with only 19% of charter schools outperforming traditional public schools the whole premise seems like a bad bet....or maybe it's about a bigger political ideology.  Don't forget that Daniels has said that if he could privatize public education tomorrow, he'd do it.  Democrats need to speak out, get a candidate to beat Bennett and stop this reckless dismantling of Indiana education.

oh, and.....we should be very worried if Daniels and Obama's education plans are simpatico.

Education stand could hurt Dems

Gov. Mitch Daniels isn't on the ballot this election year. But in many ways, his education agenda is.
In recent years, Daniels and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett have struggled to push education reforms through the legislature because of strident opposition from House Democratic leaders. It's been a disappointing and somewhat surprising obstacle at a time when other Democrats in the state and nationally are fighting for similar reforms.For instance, President Barack Obama's education agenda focuses on many of the same ideas Daniels and Bennett have talked about.
As he sat in his office last week, Daniels noted that he has been able to work with House Speaker Pat Bauer and other Democratic caucus leaders on a range of issues, from property taxes to telecom reform. But on education, he said, House Democrats "like it as it is" and prevent reform bills from getting "to first base."
A big part of the problem is that House Democrats are an arm of the powerful teachers union lobby. So when Daniels argues for changes in teacher seniority rules that sometimes protect bad teachers at the expense of good ones, he gets nowhere. When he talks about changing pay structures, he hits a roadblock.
"The best teachers -- meaning those whose kids learn the most -- should be paid more for that," Daniels said. "The teachers whose kids do not grow year after year after year should not have permanent job protection. That doesn't exist anywhere else."
Again, the Democratic president's administration has advocated for similar ideas. In the Indiana House, though, partisanship prevails.


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