Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tony Bennett's Fiasco case you're local paper won't print it.  Take a look.

Dear Editor,
Tony Bennett’s plan to give letter grades to schools has turned into a fiasco. Last January, all 35 speakers in the only public hearing on his plan opposed it, including representatives of all education groups and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Bennett did not attend the hearing. Nevertheless, he pushed the plan through in February without any of the recommended changes, despite information from his own department that the plan would result in 22% D’s and F’s for Indiana schools. In comparison, Florida last year gave D’s and F’s to 6% of their schools. Indiana schools are not over 3 times worse than Florida schools! This fact is certifiably grounded in data from the National Assessment, which is a test taken in common by all states and is known as “the nation’s report card.” On the National Assessment, Indiana consistently outscores Florida in 4th and 8th grade math and in 8th grade reading, and Indiana consistently scores higher than the national average. Tony Bennett’s A-F system has demeaned the performance of Indiana’s schools compared to Florida. Conveniently, low grades would feed more schools into his pipeline for state intervention which in Indianapolis and Gary has resulted in for-profit corporations taking over schools, accompanied by discord, litigation and fragmented communities.

Mayors have complained that unfairly low school grades damage local economic development efforts to attract new jobs. The calibration of this A-F system is simply wrong. It will hurt our schools and our economy.

This fall implementation has seen major delays, the director of the program took another job in the midst of the roll out, and local school officials say they can’t get answers to their questions about the flawed growth statistics. We need a change. I support Glenda Ritz for State Superintendent who stands for a revised system of grading our schools.

Dr. Vic Smith
Indianapolis, IN

Indiana Citizens for Public Education


  1. Tony Bennett is nothing more than a handpicked puppet for Mitch Daniels. The Indiana Superintendent of Education prior to Mr. Bennett was republican Suellen Reed. Mrs. Reed was an intelligent woman who was not intimidated by other politicians, including Mitch Daniels. Prior to the 2008 election Mrs. Reed was told by the governor that the republican party would not support her for reelection, in essence telling her that she would be replaced on the ticket. Mitch needed a puppet that would do what he wanted. This is where Bennett enters the picture. Bennet and Daniels are longtime friends. Daniels needed someone who appeared to have good education credentials. Bennett fit the bill. Unfortunately no one actually researched Bennett’s career. As a teacher and administrator in Scott and Clark Counties he was mediocre. His role as the superintendent of public instruction has been driven by ultra conservative education theories that have not proven to be effective. He has frequently lied and twisted statistics in order to promote legislation that he favors.

  2. You mean Indiana Liberals For Public Education. What nonsense. This grading system is not perfect. No system is or can be. But it is NOT a fiasco, and saying it is only demonstrates extreme bias.

    And people wonder why Indiana is a Republican state.

  3. Why I Will Vote Glenda Ritz for State Superintendent of Public Instruction

    For everyone interested in the election for State Superintendent, I want to answer one question before November 6th:

    Why have I worked feverishly to support Glenda Ritz for State Superintendent of Public Instruction?

    Bennett’s agenda is a thinly-veiled attempt to allow private corporation take-over of public education. This is the reason Bennett has pushed for right to work laws, relaxed teacher licensing, merit based pay, bogus teacher contracts, school vouchers, standardized testing extremes, Common Core standards, A-F school grades, take-over of entire school districts…

    I have no doubt behind Bennett’s agenda for school “reform” is a corporate-sponsored push to make schools a profitable market place. As public education is a pillar for democracy, it is philosophically unallowable for Bennett’s agenda to manifest itself in my community.

    Glenda Ritz will work to undo all of Tony Bennett’s “faux reform”.

    Still, I have come to the realization that this is not the reason I have worked tirelessly to support Ritz for Public Education.

    Yesterday, a young co-worker slumped into the classroom at the end of the day and simply asked, “Do you believe you still can make an impact in your student’s lives?”

    The answer is “no”.

    The more school has become like a competitive factory, the more my everyday decision-making is replaced by a “map” of what I must teach and when, the more emphasis is put on test scores, I am no longer free to impact students.

    Every day under Tony Bennett’s reform, each student’s personality, dreams, gifts, pains, spirit, and diverse array of human-ness is lost to me, replaced by sets of data and test scores. I am no longer able to nurture student’s creative expressions of freedom.

    Why have I worked feverishly to support Glenda Ritz for State Superintendent of Public Instruction?

    So I can teach.

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