Monday, December 10, 2012

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #101– December 10, 2012

Dear Friends,

Public education will again be under attack during the upcoming General Assembly session. The Indiana Coalition for Public Education, with your support, will be there in the Statehouse to advocate for public education and fight proposals to expand vouchers.

Proposals to expand vouchers for private school tuition were part of the fall campaign of Mike Pence. We can expect efforts to expand vouchers in two directions. First, some want to take off the income limits and allow families with high incomes to get vouchers. This would allow high-income families as well as low-income families to get a religious education for their children at taxpayer expense.

Second, some want to make all students eligible for vouchers, even if they have not been attending a public school. This second proposal would mean that vouchers would no longer save the state money, but would for the first time become a new fiscal expense. Vouchers were sold to legislators as a money saver, because when a student transfers out from a public school to a cheaper private school, the state saves money. If students are no longer required to attend a public school first before becoming eligible for a voucher, then the rationale of “saving money” is gone, and the vouchers for private school tuition will become a new expense for the state, competing with all the other things that money is needed for, such as preschool support and the restoration of professional development funds.

The Indiana Coalition for Public Education plans to be in the Statehouse to speak up for public education in all of the upcoming debates, but we can’t do that without your support. Here is where we are:

ICPE contracts with a great lobbyist, Joel Hand, to represent us during the legislative session. Many of you know Joel by now. His excellent work does not come free. We still need to raise $15,000 to cover expenses for the next six months.

We need new memberships, membership renewals and additional contributions. In the two years since ICPE was founded, we have had nearly 1000 individuals join us with a membership check. Since July 1, when our membership year begins, about 200 individuals have renewed. We know more intend to renew, so here is my invitation, based on countless conversations I have had with supporters in the last two years who said, “You know I support you, but that form is still sitting on my desk.”

Please accept my “DO IT NOW” CHALLENGE. In response to your appreciation for the work of ICPE in the Statehouse and for any insights with have gained from “Vic’s Statehouse Notes”, please rise up from where you are sitting and go to your checkbook NOW and either start or renew your membership with a $20 (or more) check. Print off the attached membership form, and mail it all to: ICPE, PO Box 7093, Fishers, IN 46037. This address is also on the form.

Perhaps you will smile if I relate this to the “high expectations” movement. In this era of high expectations and high standards for schools, we have set a high standard for ICPE membership. We actually expect that advocates for public education can write a check to ICPE and put it in the mail. The ICPE board initially rejected the use of credit cards for online payments due to the high fees involved. We are looking into a change in that policy, but in the meantime, I am convinced that advocates for public education can meet these high expectations by writing a check today (Monday) and mailing it on Tuesday, December 11th.

Our ICPE board meeting is on Friday, December 14th, when we need to know how many resources we will have for the General Assembly session. Can you help us? We need your support.

So here is the “DO IT NOW” CHALLENGE:

1. Copy the membership renewal form attached.

2. Write a generous check. Memberships are available at $20, $50, $100 and $250.

3. If you have already renewed but are feeling pumped about public education, send us an additional check of $10 or $15 for the legal fund. We accept all donations at any time for the great cause of supporting public education.
4. Mail the form and your check to our PO Box on TUESDAY, DEC. 11th (tomorrow)!

Public education needs your support. Please accept this challenge. Your response will make a huge difference in what ICPE can do in the Statehouse. Thanks!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Election Notes on Education” is not linked to any organization and is not being distributed by me to any organization. It is only being distributed to those who have previously sent personal requests for my commentaries. If you want to pass it along to others, you do not need to ask my permission. If you want to be taken off the distribution list, just let me know. If you know of others who want to be added to the list, just send me an email.

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.

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