OK, readers, it’s time for you to weigh in, and I’m not talking about your New Year’s resolution. I’m talking about Gov. Mitch Daniels’ resolution to reform Indiana education.
In his State of the State address, the governor said he “can’t wait for education reforms.” But are his ideas the best for Indiana students, families and schools? I am heartened that education is front and center on the governor’s agenda, but plenty of debate and discussion are needed during the next few months.
Gov. Daniels asked legislators to do the following:
- Give parents more voice and choice by increasing the number of public charter schools, now about 60, in the state.
- Allow low-income children to take taxpayer-supplied school dollars to private schools. This voucher plan has been long debated in Indiana. Charter schools grew out of this debate.
- Give merit pay to teachers who are performing best. Teacher evaluations would be based in part on student performance.
- Give school boards more flexibility by repealing some mandates.
- Give students who graduate high school in less than four years the money that the state would have paid for their education in the senior year. That money could be used only for additional education.
Readers, we are interested in hearing the pros and cons of each proposal. Have you, like the governor, waited long enough for education reforms? Is this the time? Or as state Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said in response to the speech, “does the governor want to dismantle public education?”
Always remember one thing: you have a voice. Let it be heard here and be sure to let your legislators know your opinions. You can call or e-mail them or even look them up on social media outlets.
We look forward to this discussion.
The Indiana Partnerships Center encourages and enables parents to engage with their child’s school, to the mutual benefit of the child and the school. The center, which serves all of Indiana, is one of 62 Parental Information Resource Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Innovation and Improvement.