Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

August 27, 2013

PUBLIC FORUM: Letter from Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013

The real problem remains after Bennett’s departure

The recent articles regarding the tenure and actions of Dr. Tony Bennett clearly provide the basis from which one can understand the animus and distrust of educators across Indiana and beyond. But, my guess is that Tony Bennett didn’t dream up the changes he advanced for Indiana schools. Several brain trusts across the country write legislative proposals for legislators, programs for Governors and action plans for state education leaders.

And, special interests fund both the organizations and the political campaigns of those who advocate their thinking. Spend time in the Indiana Secretary of State’s Indiana Election Division reviewing the campaign finance reports of Dr. Bennett, Governor Daniels and numerous legislative leasers and you will soon learn why Dr. Bennett was so passionate about moving charter schools forward. Contributions of such large amounts to anyone’s campaign have to bring pressure and expectations of access to the elected official and action from that official when desired.

The financial demands to win an election are huge. Dr. Bennett spent $1,866,743.43 in his campaign during 2012. And he lost.

Contributions of $65,000 from Ms. DeHahn, $55,150 from Hoosiers for Economic Growth (which also donated large amounts to legislators positioned to impact educational legislation; and was itself the recipient of large amounts of money from an organization in Washington, D.C.), and $49,965 from the American Federation for Children Action fund were necessary for the $1.8 million 2012 campaign. Large contributions can twist and conflict their recipients. And, they would twist and conflict most of us.

So, with Dr. Bennett gone, is the special treatment for charter schools over? Hardly. Not known to most Hoosiers is the fact that the 2013 Indiana Legislature, with the Governor’s signature, enacted into law the HB1001 budget bill including a provision added in the Senate that forgave all Common School Fund debt owed by charted schools in Indiana. Based upon a printout dated Jan. 2, 2013, that provision forgave charter schools $81,828,253.30. Some reports have placed the value at $93 million. With the passage of this legislation, the forgiven debt and the assets purchased by the borrowed funds became the assets of the individuals and/or corporations that sponsor the charter schools. An eighty million dollar gift to charter school sponsors.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Littering shows disregard for surroundings Numbers tell a sad story about the disregard many Hoosiers have for their surroundings. Too many in Indiana don't care enough about the environment to prevent them from cluttering the countryside by carelessly tossing litter along the side of roadway

    April 18, 2014

  • WOLFSIE: High-tech got you down? I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 18, 2014

  • PETERS: Grizzly bear may help human medicine I've gained 5 pounds since last summer. My body mass index (BMI) is still fine, but I need to stop gaining to keep it that way. Grizzly bears put my weight gain to shame. In the late summer, they eat some 50,000 calories per day and gain more than 1

    April 18, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Lawmakers fail to act on the issue After several years of fretting over Indiana's ongoing methamphetamine problem, the Indiana General Assembly continues to struggle for a solution. The issue seems to come up every session, given that Indiana leader the nation in meth lab seizures. Bu

    April 17, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: Feelings of the flowers I took one of those fun tests on Facebook to see what kind of flower I am and lo and behold, it said I was an orchid! That is so wrong because I have always thought I was the exact opposite of an orchid. I'd characterize myself as a daisy. You know,

    April 17, 2014

  • HAMILTON: Government as innovator? You bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: there are many reas

    April 17, 2014

  • PARKER: It's time to take a joke, America In selecting Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman as host of the "Late Show," CBS has waged war on America's Heartland -- or so proclaims that Palm Beach font of heartland mirth, Rush Limbaugh. Don't you believe it, Heartlanders. But wait, ther

    April 16, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Constitutional convention won't work today There seems to be a growing idea that we need a Constitutional convention. That, of course, is the other way to change the Constitution. Amendments have been used 27 times to make changes, ranging from limiting the president's term of office to the d

    April 16, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Forum about adding answers, subtracting questions A week from tonight, Logansport residents and those outside Logansport who purchase electricity from the Logansport Municipal Utilities will have a chance to find out some things for themselves. A free forum at McHale Performing Arts Center will feat

    April 16, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: The people are losing control of its government The people are losing control of government President Obama and progressive Democrats and Republicans are changing the landscape of our country by bypassing our Constitution and what our forefathers fought and gave their lives for. Their philosophy c

    April 16, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.