Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #200 – February 10, 2015

Dear Friends,

Can you come to the Statehouse rally on February 16th at 2:00pm?

Any voter who is outraged that the General Assembly is reducing the powers of the State Superintendent during the term that they elected her to hold those powers should come to the Statehouse rally if at all possible. It will be held on Monday, February 16th for a 2:00pm (EST) in the North Atrium of the Statehouse.

The rally themes are to STOP taking powers away from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and to STOP the ongoing assault on public education.

House Bill 1609 removing the State Superintendent as chair of the State Board of Education passed the House yesterday at 5:12pm by a vote of 58-40 after a long floor debate. The bill now moves to the Senate.

The leadership of the House and the Senate don’t get it. The turmoil on the State Board is not based on personalities but rather reflects monumental policy battles over the future of public education in Indiana. This bill takes power away from the elected State Superintendent in those policy battles and gives more power to State Board members.

Any change in powers before the next election can only be interpreted as a power grab to win the policy battles over education policy.

If you think the State Superintendent should not lose the power to chair the State Board that Dr. Bennett and every other State Superintendent have had since 1913, please come to the rally.

Bring friends!

The Vote on HB 1609

Twelve Republicans joined 28 Democrats in opposing the bill. They should be thanked for a difficult vote against Speaker Bosma and the wishes of Governor Pence. They are Representatives Arnold, Beumer, Braun, Davisson, Dermody, Harman, Judy, Koch, Mahan, Nisly, Saunders and Truitt.

All Democrats, except for Representative Goodin who was excused, voted against the bill and should also be sent a note of thanks. They are Representatives Austin, Bartlett, Bauer, C. Brown, Delaney, Dvorak, Errington, Forestal, GiaQuinta, Hale, Harris, Kersey, Klinker, Lawson, Macer, Moed, Moseley, Niezgodski, Pelath, Pierce, Porter, Pryor, Riecken, Shackleford, V. Smith, Stemler, Summers and Wright.

The remaining Republicans, except for Representative Morris who was excused, voted for the bill.

The Debate on HB 1609

The floor debate on the bill was characterized by passion and eloquence. Speaker Bosma, Representative Rhoads and Representative McMillan, the sponsor, spoke for the bill. Representatives Pelath, Wright, Delaney, Vernon Smith, Klinker, Porter, Pierce, Charlie Brown, Bauer and Austin spoke against the bill.

Representative Pelath led off the opposition by calling this a “troubling and embarrassing” bill and the result of what happens “when somebody runs afoul of the Politbureau.” The entire floor debate can be seen on the Indiana General Assembly website by clicking on “Video Archives” of the 2015 session, and then on “House Chamber” for Monday, Feb. 9th, Part 1.

What Will the People Say?

There is a long way to go on this issue to determine whether the General Assembly will overturn the will of the voters in the 2012 election about who will chair the State Board. Senate Bill 1 is also moving in the Senate which, in addition to cutting the State Superintendent’s powers, would change the composition of the State Board.

I urge you to get involved. Contact your legislators. If you can, come to the rally in the Statehouse on Feb. 16th at 2pm. Your actions will make a huge difference in letting our legislators know where the people stand.

Thanks for your efforts in support of public education!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith vic790@aol.com

“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. Joel Hand will again be our ICPE lobbyist in the Statehouse. Many have renewed their memberships already, and we thank you! If you have not done so since July 1, the start of our new membership year, we urge you to renew now.

We must raise additional funds for the 2015 session, which begins on January 6th. We need 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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