Senator Mark Stoops filled us in on some of the bills in the Senate that will be damaging to our public schools. He talked about Senate Bill 264 which is basically an incentive to get our best teachers into charter schools by offering them $10,000 a year for two years if they move from a public school into a low-performing charter school (and it does allow for a public one, too. But it is clearly an attempt to get better teachers into the charters). Teachers who take this bribe (I mean, incentive) must be "highly effective" on the rubric. Other bills to be concerned about: SB 190-- more attacks on teacher bargaining (further dis-empowering our teachers), SB 224-- creating new standards, SB 322--would give the State Board of Education the power to expand voucher schools (decide who takes them) and would take the oversight AWAY FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. Senator Stoops also said that we in Indiana have a surplus of $2 billion that would allow us to fund universal pre-K and yet they are only looking into a pilot program (that would expand vouchers and take more $ from public education).
Steve Hinnefeld of School Matters blog did a great job of filing in the blanks for us on the timeline of these reforms and the arguments that these "reformers" use to promote their agenda.
Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer, ICPE-Monroe County chair, took Vic Smith's place and gave a report on the things Vic would have highlighted had he been able to attend: the preschool voucher bill and REPA3.
We want the Senate to REMOVE SECTION 10 (of the pre-K bill) that creates a pipeline for vouchers enabling any child with a preschool voucher of $500 or more to be automatically eligible for a K-12 voucher. This is new money being taken from public education as these kids were never in public schools to begin with. We need pre-K BUT NOT AT THE COST OF QUALITY PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND THEIR FUNDING. WRITE ALL SENATORS! (Link here: http://neifpe.blogspot.com/p/indiana-senate-members.html)
In addition, REPA3 is something that goes in front of the State Board of Education brought about by Governor Pence, his CECI (shadow department of education) and some members (Dan Elsener?) of the SBOE. It would enable anyone with a B.A. (and a 3.0... at least we have standards! Ha!) in ANYTHING and who passes a test.. to BECOME A TEACHER. NO student teaching, education courses necessary. In addition, it would basically water down any license for principals because it would enable anyone to get a principal license without a Master's. It would enable anyone to get a superintendent's license with a superintendent's degree. DON'T FORGET THAT THIS STATE LEGISLATURE ALREADY PASSED A LAW MAKING IT SO THAT ANYONE CAN BE A SUPERINTENDENT WITHOUT ANY TEACHING EXPERIENCE OR EDUCATION BACKGROUND AT ALL. Now this just cheapens the license itself.
This is an attack on schools of education. They would like nothing better than to create a "free market" of McTeacher McCertifications online or wherever. IT's all about the $$$$$$ It's about seeing schools as a for-profit venture and seeing teachers as replaceable unskilled laborers. This deprofessionalization of educators is from ALEC.
WE MUST STOP THEM. WRITE TO THE STATE BOARD MEMBERS TODAY. BE RESPECTFUL AND REASONABLE (ESPECIALLY TO THE NEW ONES) AND INSIST THAT THEY NOT PASS THESE RULES. [emphasis added]