Monday, January 30, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #272 – January 29, 2017

Dear Friends,

Public school advocates need to go to work on this one:

The House bill to expand pre-school (HB 1004) tries to use the popularity of the pre-K movement to add a major expansion of K-12 private school vouchers.

The Senate bill to expand pre-school (SB 276) does not.

I urge you to ask Senators and House members to support the Senate pre-school bill but to oppose the House pre-school bill. We must not entwine a highly controversial and expensive ($5 to $10 million) expansion of the K-12 voucher program with the much needed and worthy efforts to expand the pre-school pilot program.

Please contact members of the House Education Committee before their next meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 8:30am to let them know you strongly oppose tacking on a K-12 voucher expansion to the pre-school bill. Ask them to delete Sections 20 and 21 of HB 1004. Ask them to follow the Senate bill’s lead in expanding preschool without expanding K-12 private school vouchers.


The Private School Voucher Expansion Plan in House Bill 1004

The Indiana General Assembly is facing a tale of two bills to expand pre-school in Indiana, an expansion broadly supported by the Governor and by many dedicated pre-school advocates.

The Senate bill (SB 276) would expand the program in its current structure to serve 10 counties instead of five, maintaining the current income guideline to serve families of four earning $31,000 or less. Senate Bill 276 was given a hearing last Wednesday (Jan. 25th) and will be voted on in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday Feb. 8th.

The House bill (HB 1004) would also allow an expansion to 10 counties but would significantly expand eligibility to wealthier families with income up to $67,432 for a family of four (instead of $31,000) and would use the popular program to expand eligibility for private school vouchers, a poison pill that was attempted but then removed when the program first passed the General Assembly in 2014.

Current law says that receiving a pre-school grant does not have an effect on the eligibility for a K-12 Choice Scholarship (voucher). The Senate bill would keep this provision, but the House bill would repeal it.

What does the House bill have in it that the Senate bill does not have?
  • Income eligibility for a preschool grant would balloon for a family of four from the current $31,000 up to $67,432. This is 150% of the free or reduced lunch guideline. This changes the focus away from a low-income program.
  • Four pages (sections 20 and 21) of the 13 page House bill are not a change to the law governing the pre-school program but are instead a change to the voucher law to make more students eligible for a K-12 voucher if they received a pre-school grant “at any time.”
  • This provision would make the pre-school program a feeder system for K-12 vouchers. It would lock in eligibility for every child who receives a pre-school grant either from state funds or from private matching grant funds to receive a private school voucher for the next 13 years through high school.
  • When this provision was attempted in the 2014 preschool bill, the Legislative Services Agency estimated at that time that the cost to taxpayers of the voucher provision alone would be $1.9 million to provide Choice Scholarships to students who get pre-school grants. The link to vouchers was not approved in the 2014 law.
  • There is a fiscal cost to Choice Scholarships. The most recent state report said that the net fiscal cost of Choice Scholarships in 2015-16 was $53 million. According to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency in a new fiscal note dated January 27, 2017, the annual fiscal cost of K-12 Choice Scholarships in HB 1004 is estimated to be $5.9 million if the currently enrolled preschool students get a 50% voucher and $10.5 million if the currently enrolled preschool students get a 90% voucher. $5.9 million to $10.5 million is a major add on that should be deleted! The voucher cost is approaching the pre-school cost.
  • The House bill not only provides a lifetime private school voucher to every student receiving a pre-school grant, but it provides the voucher to wealthier families. The House bill expands eligibility for a school voucher to a family of four making $89,900, far more generous than the $67,432 income limit applied to most current applicants for a K-12 voucher. Only disabled students are currently allowed a voucher with the expanded $89,900 income cap.

We Need Your Help to Turn This Around

It is time to tell members of the House and Senate how you feel about turning preschool expansion into K-12 voucher expansion!
  • Let them know that it is wrong to entwine a highly controversial and expensive expansion of the K-12 private school voucher program with the much needed pre-K program.
  • Let them know that you oppose making this important step for pre-school part of the march to privatize public education in Indiana.
  • Let members of the House know that Sections 20 and 21 should be deleted.
  • Let members of the Senate know that you support Senate Bill 276 and that you would strongly oppose any attempt to add amendments to link it to K-12 Choice Scholarships.

Three Things You Can Do
1) If you strongly support pre-school expansion but strongly oppose linking it to voucher expansion, you may want to show up on Tuesday January 31st to speak at the hearing in the House Chamber to oppose House Bill 1004 until they delete the voucher expansion. They deleted it in 2014, and the program has been running fine. The hearing begins at 8:30am but there are several bills on the agenda, so no there could be a lengthy wait before testimony is taken on HB 1004.

2) You can email or call the members of the House Education committee to oppose HB 1004 in its present form until Sections 20 and 21 are removed. The members of the House Education Committee are:

Republican Representatives Behning, Cook, Burton, Clere, DeVon, Jordan, Lucas, Thompson and Wesco

Democratic Representatives V. Smith, DeLaney, Errington and Klinker.

3) You can email or call the members of the Senate Education committee to support Senate Bill 276 in its present form because they did it right. They are expanding the pre-school program without expanding K-12 vouchers at the same time. They could amend the bill to read like the House bill at any time, so they need to hear from you on this issue. The members of the Senate Education Committee are:

Republican Senators Kruse, Raatz, Bassler, Crane, Freeman, Kenley, Leising and Zay

Democratic Senators Melton, Mrvan and Stoops

We must not entwine a highly controversial expansion of the K-12 private school voucher program with the much needed pre-K program.

We must not make this important step for pre-school part of the march to privatize public education in Indiana.
Thank you for your dedicated 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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Friday, January 27, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #271 – January 27, 2017

Dear Friends,

All who support public education are invited to the Indiana Statehouse on Monday, February 20, 2017 for a celebration of public education!

This celebration will be held on Presidents’ Day, a great day to celebrate the institution that has served as the bedrock of our democracy for over 180 years --- our public schools.

Please save the date. Details will come later. Activities and displays will begin in the morning on the 3rd and 4th floors and speakers in support of public education will begin at 2:00pm in the North Atrium.

Public education is under threat, as it has been in Indiana for six years. State proposals to fund Education Savings Accounts and President Trump’s campaign proposal for a federal intrusion of $20 billion for private and religious school tuition pose grave threats to the future of public education.

This is the time to speak up for public education if you believe as we do that our democracy depends on strong public schools and that our public school students are depending on strong public support.

Come and join us on February 20th! See you in the Statehouse!


Thank you for your dedicated 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, January 23, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #270 – January 22, 2017

Dear Friends,

Betsy DeVos has been the most influential funder behind Indiana’s historic switch to giving public tax money to private and religious schools.

That is my conclusion after reading an informative article in the Indianapolis Star by Stephanie Wang and Chelsea Schneider entitled “Hoosier ties run deep for DeVos,” January 15, 2017, page 21A. According to the authors, DeVos has provided $2.5 million since 2004 to Indiana politicians to support vouchers. That paved the way to historic votes in 2009, 2011 and 2013 which step by step have privatized the school system in Indiana. The entire article deserves your attention.

Now Betsy DeVos is Donald Trump’s choice to be Secretary of Education.

Those who agree with her efforts to privatize schools in Indiana support the choice.

Those like me who strongly oppose the choice believe that giving public money to private and religious schools will totally destroy the separation of church and state and will totally destroy the long tradition of non-partisan civic education for K-12 students.

Funding religious schools will entwine religious controversies into every education issue, as we have already seen in the controversial RFRA law. Funding private schools that teach partisan positions will create a partisan society that will threaten our democracy, as we already see in the hyperpartisan politics in Washington, DC.

I urge you to call Senator Donnelly and Senator Young by Tuesday (Jan. 24th) to ask them to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos. See phone numbers below.

The Influence of Betsy DeVos in Indiana

The research of the Indianapolis Star reporters in the article cited above is revealing:
  • Indiana’s campaign finance database shows that DeVos’s family and organizations have donated $2.5 million to Hoosier politicians in support of private school voucher policies since 2004, the year Mitch Daniels first ran for governor.
  • This total includes a $95,000 donation to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s campaign. Now Gov. Holcomb has signed a letter of support for the DeVos nomination.
  • Mrs. DeVos has donated another $1.7 million between 2012 and 2014 to non-profit groups in Indiana which support private school vouchers, such as the Institute for Quality Education led by Fred Klipsch. Yes, you read that correctly: $1.7 million
  • Her American Federation for Children Action Fund, a political action committee she funds devoted to private school vouchers has contributed $1.2 million to the PAC linked to the Institute for Quality Education.
  • The same Action Fund also spent $50,000 in TV ads to support Tony Bennett when he lost the election for State Superintendent in 2012.
  • Quoting from the Star article: “All Children Matter, a group once led by DeVos and started by her husband that is now under fire in Ohio for failing to pay a $5.3 million campaign finance fine, gave nearly $1.2 million to fund an Indiana chapter of All Children Matter. The chapter was active in the state from 2004 to 2011, led by [Jim] Bopp and John Mutz….The group parceled out about $480,000 in contributions to Daniels and a number of state lawmakers, including Rep. Robert Behning and House Speaker Brian Bosma, who went on to be sponsors of Indiana’s voucher law. Of the House committee that originated the voucher legislation, a majority of the Republican members had at one time received money from the DeVos group.” (Star, 1/15/17, p.22A)
  • Senator Todd Young is a member of the Senate Committee that will be voting on the nomination on Tuesday, and campaign finance reform groups have called on him “to recuse himself from voting on her nomination because he’s accepted contributions from DeVos.” (p.22A)
You can also call on Senator Young to recuse himself from voting because of these contributions. You can call his office in Washington at 202/224-5623.


The Senate Committee Hearing on the DeVos Nomination on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 5:30pm

Republican Senators, including Indiana Senator Young, had friendly questions for Betsy DeVos and Democratic Senators had tough questions at Tuesday’s hearing in the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee. Democratic Senators did not like the fact that she had not submitted the ethics review before the hearing and that the chair only allowed each Senator a five minute question time period with only one Republican and one Democrat to have an additional five minutes. The Democrats had more questions that they could not ask.

The questions they did ask revealed why many are concerned about the qualifications of Mrs. DeVos to serve when she has never been a teacher, a principal or a superintendent. She has a degree in business and the closest ties to public education she could cite were that her mother taught in a public school and she once served as a mentor to Grand Rapids public school students.
  • Senator Franken (MN) asked about the controversy between measuring proficiency vs. measuring growth in accountability systems, and she seemed not to be aware of what he was talking about.
  • Senator Murphy (CT) seemed shocked when Mrs. DeVos did not agree with his statement that guns shouldn’t be in schools and when she said she would support Donald Trump if he wants to ban gun-free school zones as he said he would during the campaign.
  • She did not agree with Senator Kaine when he asked if she agreed that there should be equal accountability for all schools that receive federal funds, whether they are public, charter or private schools.
  • She did not dispute Senator Sanders (VT) when he said that campaign records show that she has given $200 million dollars to Republican candidates.
  • She did not agree with Senator Hassan (NH) when the Senator said that children such her own child with cerebral palsy should not have to sign over federal legal rights in order to get a private school voucher, as they do in Florida to get a McKay Scholarship. Mrs. DeVos praised the Florida program.
Senator Alexander, chair of the committee, said that Mrs. DeVos has agreed to sign the ethics paperwork by Friday and if she does, he will take a committee vote on her nomination on Tuesday, January 24th.

I hope you will call our Senators by Tuesday to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos. Call Senator Donnelly at 317/226-5555 (Indianapolis) or 812/425-5813 (Evansville) or 574/288-2780 (South Bend).

Senator Young’s Washington office is 202/224-5623.


Will the School Voucher Program of Donald Trump Undermine our Democracy?

The private school voucher debate is often framed as a money issue. Public money that is diverted to private schools certainly means far less money is going to support the education of public school students. In Indiana in 2015-16, $131 million was diverted from public schools to private schools, and certainly that money would have a made a positive difference to build new programs for public school students or to prevent cuts in programs for public school students.

Money, however, is not the biggest issue here. This debate is about whether our democracy will continue. Already, after watching the events of the 2016 elections, many observers have expressed concerns about the health of our democracy.

Here’s the point: Private school vouchers will undermine our democracy in at least four ways. If you analyze recent trends, you can see they have already done so:
  • We will segregate into religious enclaves. Private schools are sectarian; Public schools are not. (In Indiana, 98% of private voucher schools are religious schools.)
Vouchers give an incentive for every religious group to use public tax money to set up their own religious enclave with their own school, leaving communities fragmented and making more complicated the democratic skills of listening to other points of view and learning to give and take.
  • We will have greater partisanship. Public schools are politically non-partisan by law; Private schools, however, can be politically partisan.
Vouchers give public money to private schools that can indoctrinate partisan political attitudes into the minds of young children, unlike the non-partisan pro and con debate tradition that is fundamental to public education. Engrained partisanship will begin in the early formative years, complicating the work of democracy which depends on a willingness to compromise.
  • Marketing will rule. The competition for the approval of parents will put marketing above curriculum and instruction in the priorities of each school.
Vouchers force all public schools to put marketing as a new top priority. In the new world of school choice in a marketplace of schools, if parents do not know how good the school is, they won’t choose it. We all know that in any marketplace, marketing and advertising can make all the difference and that even poor choices can be made to seem good by clever marketing. Public schools must now push to the backseat their focus on sound curriculum and instruction while they put top priority on marketing and public images.
  • Civics will be neglected. The competition for the approval of parents will force enormous attention only on the subjects used to grade schools in the mandated testing program: math and language arts.
Vouchers force all schools to put math and language arts as first priorities because those subjects are the basis for accountability letter grades which are the most visible marks by which parents judge and choose a school. This has left citizen education, civics and non-partisan voter education as expendable items in the K-12 curriculum, a tragedy for our democracy which must teach every new generation the civic values and procedures of our democratic society. Less attention to civics and citizenship has been well documented in Indiana, perhaps the most damaging way that the voucher movement is undermining our democracy.

Consider the prophetic statement of the former Wisconsin State Superintendent Herbert Grover back in the 1990’s when Wisconsin passed the first private school voucher program:
"If you look closely, you can see the social fabric of America beginning to unravel. Private school vouchers permit us to fear one another, to surround ourselves with those who look and think like we do, and — in so doing — to abandon our commitment to pluralism and diversity."
The public schools of the United States have been a bedrock for democracy for 180 years since Horace Mann led the way. This could end if the system is privatized.

Please call Senator Donnelly and Senator Young before Tuesday to let them know you strongly oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

The numbers again: Call Senator Donnelly at 317/226-5555 (Indianapolis) or 812/425-5813 (Evansville) or 574/288-2780 (South Bend).

Senator Young’s Washington office is 202/224-5623.


Thank you for your dedicated 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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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #269 – January 17, 2017

Dear Friends,

Governor Holcomb’s proposed budget bump for K-12 funding is disappointingly low.

His budget was released on January 10th, one day after he called for a “world class education” for Hoosiers in his inaugural address at the state fairgrounds. He is likely to say similar things tonight in his State of the State address.

His budget calls for an increase of 1% in the first year, a total increase of $70 million. In dollars, the second year would match the $70 million and then add $140 million, a 2% increase over the first year. Adding $70 million for the first year and then $210 million for the second year makes a total increase of $280 million, a figure featured on the front page of the Indianapolis Star.

While it sounds like a lot of money, it’s a figure that doesn’t even keep up with inflation in the first year and barely does so in the second year.

The latest annual inflation rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 1.7%. The 1% Holcomb proposal is far less than the cost of living increase and would not allow schools to even keep up current programs in 2017-18, let alone correct the teacher compensation problem that has left Indiana with a highly publicized teacher shortage.

Attached is the history of school funding in Indiana’s last nine budgets. Comparing the Governor’s new proposal to this history shows that this is a weak opening proposal at a time when Indiana has a large surplus.

It would appear that Governor Holcomb is not ready to fund a “world class education.” We will hope that the House and Senate leaders can do better for public education in their budgets.

It is early in the budget process, and public school advocates need to ask members of the House and the Senate to at least match the 2.3% of the last budget cycle. If legislators want to put a true priority on supporting education, ask them to extend that support to a 3% funding increase each year.

Comparisons to the 2015 Budget


In the 2015 two-year budget, the first year increase was $157 million and the second year increase over that was $160 million. Remember that to maintain the first year increase in the second year, $157 million in new money must be added in. Therefore the two-year increase of new money in the 2015 budget was $157 million for the first year plus $157 million (to match the first year) plus $160 million for the second year, or a total of $474 million in new money.

It’s hard to see why we would do less after hearing all the recent reports about how well things are going in Indiana and how we are maintaining a large surplus. Why would our public schools be thrown back into hard times and recession era cutbacks by giving them only a 1% increase?

It is time to call or email your legislators about strong funding for our public schools. Start first with members of the House since the House budget is completed first. The Senate budget is usually unveiled in early April. Let legislators know that the public schools of Indiana need strong and stable funding to implement the high standards that have been set.

For the full context of budget proposals, study the “Total Funding” column in the attached (CLICK HERE) history of school funding increases which I have compiled over the last 18 years of Indiana budgets.

Thank you for your dedicated 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, January 9, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #268 – January 9, 2017

Dear Friends,

At the first Senate Education Committee meeting of the 2017 Session on Wednesday January 4th, Senate Bill 30 was given a hearing. Senate Bill 30 deserves strong support.

It provides that the Indiana Department of Education give information to Indiana school districts about the name of the school that each voucher student in the district transfers to.

This bill providing greater information received widespread support in the hearing. ICPE lobbyist Joel Hand spoke in favor of the bill. The lobbyist for the Institute for Quality Education, the group that supports private school vouchers, testified in favor of the bill as well. Every group that testified favored the bill.

Senate Bill 30 will be voted on next Wednesday January 11th at the second meeting of the Senate Education Committee which begins at 1:30pm. Before that time, let the members of the committee know that you stand in strong support of Senate Bill 30.

Senate Bill 30

The sponsor of Senate Bill 30 is Senator Eric Koch, who previously served in the House of Representatives until he ran for the Senate seat vacated by the retirement of Senator Steele. Senate Bill 30 requires the Indiana Department of Education to provide two things to each public school district:
“(1) The name of each eligible school in which an eligible choice scholarship student who has legal settlement in the school corporation is enrolled; and (2) number of the eligible choice scholarship students who are enrolled in each eligible school for the current school year.
This information would be very helpful to school districts as they work to meet the needs of all students who have legal settlement in their district.

Contact Senate Education Committee Members

Let your own Senator know that you support Senate Bill 30, as well as the members of the Senate Education Committee who will vote on this bill on Wednesday, January 11th. Education Committee members this year are as follows:

Republican Senators Kruse (Chair), Raatz, Bassler, Crane, Freeman, Kenley, Leising, and Zay

Democratic Senators Melton, Mrvan and Stoops

One easy way to email each Senator is to go to the Indiana General Assembly website and click on Committees and then on Senate Education Committee. You will then see small pictures of each committee member on the left. When you click on each picture, a link to send the Senator an email will come up for you to paste a brief note to each saying that you support Senate Bill 30.

Thank you for your dedicated 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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