Pharos-Tribune

October 17, 2012

Letter: Public education deserves better


— In 2008, Tony Bennett was elected Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction. Since taking office, the “public” piece has been lacking in his administration. He has proven that his agenda it to privatize public education. Under his watch, nearly $1 billion has been cut from public education funds, students use taxpayer dollars (vouchers) to attend private schools and underperforming charter schools continue to grow while public schools are asked to do more with less.  

Bennett continually steps outside of the law to further his agenda of school takeovers. He believes if there is one failing school within a corporation, the state should take over the entire corporation.   His school grading formula creates a bell curve and sets up 25 percent of our schools for failure. Students who are at the top and receive a pass-plus on the ISTEP will show that they have “low growth” as a student. Schools are penalized for having kids at the top of their game!

Bennett’s “teach to the test” philosophy, loss of local control over curriculum and instruction, and the push for high stakes testing have created a negative environment for both teachers and students. The collaborative spirit is disappearing between colleagues. Bennett has fostered an environment in public education that strongly resembles a dog eat dog world rather than one in which teachers are willing to help one another and corporations are stealing students. It all boils down to beating everyone else out for the almighty dollar.  

As a teacher and president of the Logansport Education Association, I have witnessed the stress and frustration of teachers as they try to survive in the field of public education. Some of our very best teachers, some with many years of experience and some with only a few, are leaving our profession in droves. Those elected to be the champions of education have not been doing their job and those of us in the trenches are feeling it to our core.

I am urging you to vote for Glenda Ritz for Superintendent of Public Instruction. She is highly qualified for this position. You are invited to meet Glenda on Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. at Calvary Presbyterian Church. Our future depends on Glenda being elected in November. We simply cannot endure four more years of Tony Bennett’s campaign to demonize and denigrate public education.

Anita Vernon, president

Logansport Education Association