Over forty articles on my website attest to current state superintendent Tony Bennett's systematic destruction of one of the finest, democratic institutions in Indiana – Public Education. With only today, November 5, 2012, before election, this one brief piece sums them up concisely.
Only two types of education "reform" actually exist. One is to provide incentives to educators, such as allowing academic freedom to teach in meaningful ways (not teaching to a test). The only other real reform is for Indiana to eliminate childhood poverty. Tony Bennett has never been a leading vocal advocate for impoverished children, if he has even advocated for them at all.
1. Tony Bennett has impeded teacher performance.
With purposely mislabeled policies, Bennett deceitfully claims he has provided incentives to teachers. However, while he was at the helm, morale among teachers sunk to an all-time low, college enrollment in the field of education plummeted, great teachers abandoned the profession, and early retirement rates increased. His leadership has not produced better teachers; it has demoralized an entire profession.
2. Tony Bennett has never advocated for the needs of children.
While Tony Bennett was in office, $300 million dollars was cut from the education budget. Not once did he ever attempt to reverse that trend. As a republican, I understand eliminating wasteful spending. Fellow Hoosiers, to eliminate $300 million dollars from education when the state claims to have a two billion dollar surplus, compounded by the fact nearly 25% of Indiana children live in poverty, should be simply unacceptable, regardless of party affiliation.
In fact, what Bennett has done to our most at-risk students is egregious. Tony Bennett has labeled children failures. Tony Bennett has shut down children's neighborhood schools. Tony Bennett has sold children out to the highest corporate bidder.
One may argue, as Bennett does, that test scores and graduation rates are up in Indiana. This is all phony data. Data will always be used in the way that serves the faction controlling and manipulating it. Always. If you do not believe this, there is no point to read further.
What cannot be controlled and manipulated so easily though is genuine care for those you supposedly serve. Bennett has not genuinely cared for or served educators. More tragically, he has not genuinely cared for or served over one million Hoosier children for four unhealthy years. Bennett cannot pull off this charade because he cannot serve two masters.
Glenda Ritz understands the situation, and will sever the connections with Tony Bennett's true master; the corporations poisoning public education.
Fellow Hoosiers, please support public education at the polls tomorrow with a vote for Glenda Ritz.