Friday, August 17, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #326 – August 17, 2018

Dear Friends,

If you support public education in Indiana, please join us on August 25th!

Plans are in place for the 8th Annual ICPE Fall Membership Meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, August 25, 2018, 2:00 to 3:30pm at the H. Dean Evans Center, MSD of Washington Township, 86th & Woodfield Crossing Blvd, Indianapolis.
  • We invited U.S. Senate candidates Joe Donnelly and Mike Braun to speak that day, in line with our bipartisan approach to supporting public education.
  • Joe Donnelly has accepted our invitation and will be introduced by Glenda Ritz as the meeting begins.
  • Mike Braun declined our invitation due to prior commitments.
  • State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick has accepted our invitation to speak and will be introduced by Suellen Reed.
  • A panel of leaders will discuss how to build bipartisan support for public education in the Indiana Statehouse.
  • We will present and then release the 2018 ICPE Legislator Report Card. Once again, ICPE has given letter grades to legislators based on their votes on keys bills in the 2017 and 2018 sessions which show their support or lack of support for public education.
Those present will hear the explanations of the Legislator A-F Report Card which will then be released to the media.

8th Annual Fall Membership Meeting in Indianapolis

For the 8th year since ICPE was founded in 2011, members and friends of public education will gather in the Dean Evans Center.

This meeting is open to all ICPE members and to all who support public education.

Please note the date and make plans now to join us on August 25th. Not only is an outstanding program planned, but it will also be a superb chance to network with other public education advocates.

Bring a public school friend and come!

Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!

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 the 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 represented ICPE extremely well during the 2018 session. 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 www.icpe2011.com 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. In April, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #325 – July 27, 2018

Dear Friends,

Attention all who support public education in Indiana!

Make plans now to come to the 8th Annual ICPE Fall Membership Meeting in Indianapolis on Saturday, August 25, 2018, 2:00 to 3:30pm.
  • We invited U.S. Senate candidates Joe Donnelly and Mike Braun to speak that day, in line with our bipartisan approach to supporting public education.
  • Joe Donnelly has accepted our invitation and will be introduced by Glenda Ritz as the meeting begins.
  • Mike Braun declined our invitation due to prior commitments.
  • We have invited a panel of legislators to discuss how to build support for public education in the General Assembly.
  • We have invited State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick to speak.
  • We will present and then release the 2018 ICPE Legislator Report Card. Once again, ICPE has given letter grades to legislators based on their votes on keys bills in the 2017 and 2018 sessions which show their support or lack of support for public education.
Those present will hear the explanations of the Legislator A-F Report Card which will then be released to the media.

Where? The H. Dean Evans Community Center, MSD of Washington Township
8550 Woodfield Crossing Blvd., Indianapolis

8th Annual Fall Membership Meeting in Indianapolis

This will be the 8th year that members and friends of public education have gathered in the Dean Evans Center since the Indiana Coalition for Public Education was founded in 2011. This meeting is open to all ICPE members and to all who support public education.


Please note the date and make plans now to join us on August 25th for a stellar program and for a great chance to network with other public education advocates.

Bring a public education friend with you!

Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!

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 the 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 represented ICPE extremely well during the 2018 session. 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 www.icpe2011.com 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. In April, I was honored to receive the 2018 Friend of Education Award from the Indiana State Teachers Association.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #323 – May 12, 2018

Dear Friends,

Are Muncie schools about to get a pass on school accountability and letter grades?

The Indiana General Assembly is poised to pass a bill in Monday’s special session that would allow Muncie public schools under Ball State’s control to ignore the system of school letter grades under the accountability law.

A new analysis has clarified that Indiana’s school accountability law, IC 20-31, is not in the list of 29 laws that Ball State must follow when they are running the Muncie public schools, according to the text of House Bill 1315ss which is scheduled for approval in one day on Monday.

This would be a first for Indiana. All other schools getting public dollars must participate in the letter grade system:
  • All charter schools must follow IC 20-31, the school accountability law, according to the charter school law (IC 20-24).
  • All voucher private schools must follow IC 20-31-8-3 to receive a letter grade designation, according to the voucher law (IC 20-51)
You can check this out for yourself by looking at the list of 29 laws that Ball State must follow while running the Muncie public schools on pages 32 and 33 of the proposed House Bill 1315ss, available on the Indiana General Assembly web site. The accountability law, IC 20-31, is not in the list of 29.

You can then compare this to the list of 21 laws that all charter schools must follow in IC 20-24-8-5. The charter school list does indeed include the accountability law, IC 20-31.

It is hard to believe that Representative Tim Brown, the author of the bill, really meant to give Ball State a pass on school letter grades as they run the Muncie public schools. I am assuming this is a major oversight that needs to be corrected in the special session.

In the hearings that I attended on HB 1315, letter grades were not discussed.

House Bill 1315ss must be amended on Monday to add the accountability law (IC 20-31) to the list of laws that Ball State must follow as they run the Muncie schools. The Indiana General Assembly has been resolute in the past that all schools must have letter grades for accountability purposes. This has been a central tenet of the plan to have a marketplace of schools in Indiana.

Contact your legislators in the House and the Senate by Monday or during the special session on Monday:
  • Tell them to amend the list of 29 laws Ball State must follow as they run the Muncie public schools. Many key laws such as bullying prevention have been omitted.
  • Tell them the list of laws to follow must include the accountability law, IC 20-31. It would be wrong to give Ball State a pass on giving letter grades to Muncie schools in a state where all charter, voucher and public schools must be given letter grades.
  • Tell them while they are at it, they should add two teacher protection laws from the list of 21 laws that all charter schools must follow that are not on Ball State’s list of 29 laws to follow under the current draft of HB 1315ss:
(1) IC 20-28-10-12 antidiscrimination; marital status

(2) IC 20-28-10-14 teacher’s freedom of association
House Bill 1315ss is flawed and incomplete. It must be amended in Monday’s special session.

Contact your legislators about these concerns. There is no reason to excuse any school in Indiana from the letter grade system.

This isn’t right.

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 www.icpe2011.com 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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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 www.icpe2011.com 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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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #321 – May 1, 2018

Dear Friends,

The Special Session of the Indiana General Assembly on May 14th has turned deeply controversial. Two pillars of public education are now at stake.

The Governor had recommended a non-controversial loan to the Muncie Public Schools in the Special Session, with the rest of the controversial House Bill 1315 to wait until the next session.

The leaders of the General Assembly announced on April 20th that they will ignore the Governor and resurrect the entire controversial House Bill 1315, and they will pass it with no amendments and no public testimony in a one day session on May 14th.

Take that.

HB 1315 was the most controversial education bill of the short session.
  • It would allow non-resident outsiders to serve on the Muncie school board and to vote on raising the school taxes of residents, an historic first for Indiana.
  • It would remove the protection of the bullying prevention law from Muncie students.
  • It would remove Muncie students from coverage by the law providing for instruction on child abuse and child sexual abuse.
These provisions are wrong. The bill fails the test of common sense. It must be amended.

The thought that it almost passed in this condition is disturbing. The thought that Ball State supports the bill in this condition is hard to understand. Ball State should ask for changes to follow all Indiana education laws in order to protect students or they should walk away from the plan.

Unfortunately, this controversy will no doubt be ignored in a busy election season unless public school advocates go into action by objecting to the bill forcefully to their legislators in the Indiana House and the Indiana Senate. The General Assembly leaders have the votes to ignore the Governor’s advice and do what they want, but will they regret stirring up such controversy in an election year?

That is up to you the voters and advocates.

Why Does House Bill 1315 Deserve Your Attention and Time?

Now that a month has passed since time ran out on House Bill 1315, the full extent of its experimental departure from two pillars of public education in Indiana has come into focus.

First it violates for the first time in the 180 years of Indiana public school history the requirement that every public school district should be run by a school board of district residents.

Second it violates for the first time the requirement that every public school district should follow the education laws of Indiana.

The Deconstruction of Public Education in Indiana: The Pillars Keep Falling

This bill is not just about Muncie and Gary. It represents two more steps in the drumbeat of steps to deconstruct the system of public education in Indiana.

House Bill 1315, debated in a short session without ever going through an education committee in either the House or the Senate, takes out not one but two long-standing pillars of public education in Indiana.

That is why it deserves the attention of all Hoosiers, not just those in Muncie and Gary.

Strong forces in the Indiana General Assembly favoring the privatization of our public schools have previously acted to demolish three pillars.
  • Pillar 1: Public money should not pay for private school scholarships. This pillar fell in 2009. For the first time public money was budgeted for private school scholarships through tax credits for donors to Scholarship Granting Organizations. Taxpayers will pay $12.5 million for this purpose in 2017-18.
  • Pillar 2: Public money should not go directly to private schools. This pillar fell in 2011. For the first time, the passage of the voucher law gave public money directly to private schools. Taxpayers will pay $153 million to private schools in 2017-18, according to the Indiana Department of Education.
  • Pillar 3: Voters should elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. This pillar fell in 2017, in the long session of the current General Assembly. A bill passed taking the power to select the State Superintendent of Public Instruction away from voters and giving the Governor the power to appoint a secretary of education after the 2020 election. The new law does not even directly require the appointee to have K-12 experience.
Now Pillars 4 and 5 are targeted on May 14th under the plan of Speaker Bosma and President Pro Tem Long.
  • Pillar 4: Every public school district should be run by a school board of district residents.
The bill would allow three school board members appointed by the Ball State board of trustees to be non-residents of the school district. It would also legally end the Gary school board in favor of a board of advisors with no pathway in law to return to having a school board.

Questions flow:
  • Will non-resident outsiders really be voting to raise the school taxes of Muncie residents?
  • Will residents resent having non-residents controlling their tax levies?
  • Will residents sue and turn this issue into an expensive legal battle for Ball State and for Indiana officials?
  • Will Gary residents really be left with no school board and no legal path to restoring their school board once the emergency manager has cleaned up the mismanagement issues that put Gary in financial trouble?
No real rationale has been offered for having non-resident outsiders on the Muncie school board except a statement by Representative Tim Brown, the bill’s author, that Ball State should be able to appoint David Letterman, Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates to the school board.
  • Pillar 5: Every public school district should follow the education laws of Indiana.
Quoting from House Bill 1315: “the Muncie Community school corporation is subject only to the following IC 20 provisions:”, an unprecedented watershed statement followed by a list of 29 laws.

Such language has never been used for public school districts in Indiana. The bill calls it “flexibility”. It was likened in discussion of the bill to charter schools.

The list of 29 laws does not begin to capture the body of law that the General Assembly has passed in previous decades to protect students and help them achieve. Despite claims that this bill has been vetted, it deletes vital protections for Muncie students including (1) 20-30-5-5.5 bullying prevention and (2) 20-30-5-5.7 instruction on child abuse and child sexual abuse.

Students in the Muncie school district will lose the protections of the bullying prevention law and the child abuse instruction law.

With these glaring problems, passage of HB 1315 in one day with no amendments would just be wrong.

Tell legislators about this problem. They apparently haven’t heard from Speaker Bosma and President Pro Tem Long that the final language of HB 1315 that nearly passed will remove these laws protecting Muncie students and many other important laws.

Questions flow again:
  • Is the Muncie Community School district now to function like a charter school with a waiver from most education laws in Indiana?
  • Shouldn’t Muncie students be protected by the laws on bullying and requiring instruction on child abuse?
  • What laws will the students and schools of Muncie be able to ignore while the schools of Richmond, Anderson and New Castle still have to follow? Is that fair?
  • If it is deemed acceptable for Muncie students to be educated without regard to most Indiana education laws, why is it not acceptable for all public school districts to operate in the same way?
  • Is the Indiana General Assembly saying that the education laws of Indiana are no longer needed or wanted for a public school district to thrive?
This is an astounding claim to say that Muncie schools need only 29 of the hundreds of Indiana education laws to function under the control of Ball State.

While the General Assembly leaders have said this bill was vetted in the House and the Senate, the many questions about operating Muncie schools without regard to Indiana law were never reviewed by the education committees of either the House or the Senate, only the finance committees. That is not a proper review in a short session for a bill that brings into question the need for the entire list of education laws in Indiana.

What Can You Do?

This controversy will get little attention from the press during an important election season. Public school advocates need to speak up anyway.
  • Contact your Senator and your member of the House to let them know you oppose any public school district being run by non-resident board members and being untethered from state education laws that all other public school districts must follow, such as the bullying prevention law.
  • Since this is election season and candidates for the Indiana House and Indiana Senate are making many public appearances, ask them in their public forums whether they support the two precedents of (1) having non-resident outsiders serve on the Muncie school board who can vote on property tax levies for residents and (2) suspending state education laws in the Muncie public schools.
  • Share these concerns with friends and colleagues willing to contact their legislators before May 14th.
Public education will remain in jeopardy until candidates and voters in election campaigns make it clear that the deconstruction of our system of public education in Indiana and in the nation is unacceptable and is damaging to students and to our democracy.

Thank you for your active support of public education in these challenging times.

Keep doing what democracy needs!

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 www.icpe2011.com 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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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #318 – March 13, 2018

Dear Friends,

The final day of the short session is tomorrow, and the final version of House Bill 1315 is still up in the air.

However it comes out, it will still have to be approved by both the House and the Senate.

If you have not contacted your legislators about your opposition yet, give it one more shot tonight or Wednesday. It looks like it will be one of the last bills to be voted on Wednesday evening, the last night of the session.

Tell your legislators or any legislators:
  • Non-residents should not be on public school boards!
Outsiders should not be allowed to be voting members of the Muncie public school board. This precedent would dismantle a core principle of public education.
  • Every public school district should have a school board!
Give the Gary public school district the dignity of having a school board like every other school district for the past 200 years, even while an emergency manager holds all the powers of the school board to correct mismanagement.
Tell them they must not pass a bill that takes down another pillar of public education. That pillar says:

Every public school district should be run by a school board of district residents.

Yet another pillar of public education in Indiana is in jeopardy.

The Meeting of the Conference Committee on HB 1315

Concerns about appointing non-resident school board members and losing the voice of citizens were clear themes in statements from legislators and those testifying at yesterday’s (March 12th) Conference Committee meeting.

Senator Lanane said: “We are taking away the democracy of the people of Muncie in this bill.”

Senator Tallian said: “We are dismantling public schools” by adding a “university-run alternative” to the long list of alternative schools the General Assembly has created, to the point where we no longer “provide a uniform system of common schools” as Article 8 of our Constitution says we must do.

Representative Vernon Smith called having non-residents on the school board a “terrible decision” and said we should “keep the school board in Gary.”

Senator Melton said Ball State University could help Muncie schools “without legislation.”

Representative Tim Brown, chair of the Conference Committee, allowed all members of the public to speak who wished to do so. Eight took advantage of the opportunity.

My testimony that I gave can be found HERE.

This bill is not just about Muncie and Gary. It sets precedents for all Indiana public school districts. We need your participation!

If you have not done so already, contact your own House member and Senator or other legislators about House Bill 1315. The results of your work will be known tomorrow.

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

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 www.icpe2011.com 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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Friday, March 9, 2018

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #317 – March 8, 2018

Dear Friends,

We need every public school advocate to send a brief email or phone message to legislators listed below before Monday, March 12th at 11am.

That is the date and time of the Conference Committee on House Bill 1315, which violates in two ways a basic pillar of public education that says:

Every public school district should be run by a school board of district residents.

HB 1315 would knock down this pillar principle in two communities:
  • For the first time in Indiana history, non-resident outsiders would be allowed to be voting members of a community’s public school board, with no sunset provisions to return control to local residents. (Muncie)
  • For the first time in Indiana history, a public school district would not have a school board. (Gary)
This bill is not just about Muncie and Gary. It sets precedents for all Indiana public school districts. We need your participation!

Contact Members of the Conference Committee before Monday Morning!

It is not too late to fix either of these problems in the bill. The House and Senate passed different versions, so a conference committee will begin meeting on Monday, March 12 at 11am in Room 404 of the Statehouse.

It is a public meeting and open to all who are concerned about HB 1315. The amount of testimony taken is determined by the chair.

Corrections to the two historic flaws cited above could be made in the conference committee, which must conclude its work by Wednesday, March 14th, the last day of the session.

Conference Committee Members to Contact

Contact your Senator and your Representative first if you have not done so, because both the House and the Senate must vote on the final bill one more time.

In addition, please send messages to the Conference Committee members:

(Members are listed and pictured on the General Assembly website under Conference Committee on HB 1315.)

House Conferees: Representative Tim Brown (Chair) and Representative Vernon Smith

House Advisors: Representative Milo Smith, Representative Errington, Representative Charlie Brown and Representative Wright

Senate Conferees: Senator Mishler and Senator Tallian

Senate Advisors: Senator Bassler, Senator Lanane, Senator Eckerty, Senator Melton and Senator Holdman.

Ask them to fix two problems in the final version:
  • · Non-residents should not be on public school boards!
Outsiders should not be allowed to be voting members of the Muncie public school board. Their votes to raise property taxes on local residents would bring litigation.
  • · Every public school district should have a school board!
Give the Gary public school district the dignity of having a school board like every other school district for the past 200 years, even while an emergency manager holds all the powers of the school board to correct mismanagement.
In nearly every session since 2009, the Indiana General Assembly has eroded step by step the norms and pillars of public education in Indiana. This erosion must stop.

This bill would for the first time break the link between public school board membership and residency in the district. Indiana should not break that link!

Currently, the bill says that two of the five school board members appointed by the Ball State University board of trustees “must reside within the boundaries of the Muncie Community school corporation district.”

Ask Legislators to Change Two to All Five!

Ball State leaders should ask for this change. If they don’t, they have just not thought through the legal and public relations problems that would ensue when out-of-town or out-of-state school board members vote each year to set the property tax levies of local residents.

Indiana has never allowed this possibility before, and it should not allow it now.

House Bill 1315, a complex 55 page bill, has become the most controversial education bill in the short session. Legislators need to hear from you on the two points listed above!

These two points take the PUBLIC out of public education in two communities. They set two precedents for the deconstruction of public education.

Ask the members of the Conference Committee listed above to fix these two points in the bill!

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

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 www.icpe2011.com 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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