Sunday, October 21, 2012

No "Slam Dunk" for Hoosier Faux-Reformer Tony Bennett

Dear Citizens Concerned about Public Education,

All across the United States, small but determined groups are fighting locally to keep their neighborhood school, to spread the word about high-stakes testing, to warn others of the unproven Common Core, or to prepare against the next legislation attempt to deskill the teaching profession,  install parent triggers, or other privatization schemes.

In Indiana, a word-of-mouth campaign by parents and educators across the state and a grassroots effort by challenger Glenda Ritz have built momentum. Faux-reform puppet and privatizer Tony Bennett finds himself in jeopardy of retaining his position as State Superintendent.  Running as a republican in a conservative state, Bennett’s re-election campaign was considered a “slam dunk” as recently as a month ago. Not so anymore.

For all those across the nation fighting the power behind faux-reform, consider these two quotes: 
I consider it important, indeed urgently necessary, for intellectual workers to get together, both to protect their own economic status and, also, generally speaking, to secure their influence in the political field.
--- Albert Einstein, on why he joined
American Federation of Teachers,
Local 552, as a charter member.

Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.
--- Theodore Roosevelt, 1912

With two weeks and two days before the election, Hoosiers are bracing themselves for a blitz of misleading propaganda by Bennett. His campaign has been heavily financed to the tune of a $1.5 million by out-of-state faux-reformers such as Walton, Bloomberg, Kern, Broad, and DeVos.  Endorsements from faux-reform groups will follow the lead of Stand for on Children and pour in deceptive endorsements that sound impressive to the uninformed voter.

Nationally, capital has organized an assault on the Hoosier voter.  In return, we need support from Americans everywhere to protect our public education. The next two weeks in Indiana are critical.  Hoosiers have a chance to send a message to faux-reformers not just here but from coast-to-coast:  Our children’s education is not for sale.  We will not negotiate with our children’s future.

Below are some suggestions how others across the nation can help send one reformer, Tony Bennett, back to the bench.

Leave comments on Indiana newspaper articles regarding education.  Help voters in Indiana see the national picture, and that Tony Bennett is not representing public education, but is instead a puppet for national privatization efforts.

Know a Hoosier voter?  Call or write them before the election and spread the news.

Visit Ritz’s Facebook page and leave some words of encouragement from an out of state observer.

Visit Ritz4ed.com to learn more, however, Ritz has requested not to receive out of state donations. 


An Educator in Indiana


  1. Here is a letter by a man who was a teacher and principal in Indiana for over 30 years...

    At no time in the one-hundred-and-twenty-one years that my grandfather, my father, my kids and I have been teaching in Indiana public schools has education faced a bigger crisis. We are on the verge of losing local control of our schools to the corporate, for profit, privatization movement. This movement has started in parts of Indiana already as State School Superintendent Tony Bennett has sold off inner-city schools to private, profit making companies and charter schools. Studies show that these schools either fail or do no better than public schools, even though they are often given more money, more staff and more resources. What this does is take money away from public schools and gives it to private, profit-making schools. This year Fort Wayne Public Schools lost 2.6 million dollars that was given to private schools in their district. This sets up public schools to fail, which some feel is the purpose anyway (the more public schools that ""fail" the more private, for profit schools we can create.)
    Why is he doing this? Follow the money. Check out the big donors to Tony Bennett's campaign. It is pouring in from out-of-state, from big corporations and testing services that stand to make a profit from privatizing Indiana's schools. If Tony wins re-election, they stand to make a nice profit. Tony Bennett doesn't want to answer public concerns about this. He stays out of the public eye, failing to show up over four times in my town when asked to attend a forum. He even delivered his annual State of Education speech to a hand-picked, private audience so he wouldn't face any embarrassing questions.
    How is he setting up schools to "fail" so he can take them over? By spending millions of dollars on testing programs (pleasing his donors) that don't begin to assess what all schools really do. He repeats the dubious message that schools are "failing" until it becomes his and his followers reality, neglecting to praise schools for their many successes (when we were in high school, the graduation rate in the U.S. was 50%: now it is 85% and climbing; actually higher when you factor in those who go back and get a G.E.D.) He is setting up a grade system for schools, publicly calling them out as F, D, C, B, or A schools, based on what kids did on a test. Does anybody not know how that will come out? Indianapolis Public Schools will largely "fail." Carmel will be "A+, and he will award them and turn IPS over to private, corporate schools which will do no better and maybe worse.
    What is the elephant in the room? What Bennett and his friends don't want to admit is what hundreds of studies have shown: that the number one predictor of lower functioning schools is their level of poverty. This is obvious to any teacher who has taught in the inner city. I personally have visited over 130 schools in Indiana and several out of state, and have served on and chaired North Central Association (the nation's major school accreditation agency) evaluations of over 25 inner city, rural, and surburban schools, from Lake Michigan to the Ohio River . I have great respect for the teachers in the inner city schools. No one works harder under adverse conditions than they do. To let Tony Bennett label them failures is beyond reason and shows how great his disconnect is from the reality of what schools really do. Heard enough? Then hear this: after he labels them failures, he plans to get rid of them!
    What can we do about this? We need to let everybody who cares about the future of education know what is going on. Feel free to share his and talk about it before the election. I have grave doubts that the schools we knew and benefited from will be available to kids in the future if we don't speak up and become active.

  2. Comment here today!