This is important; Mitch Daniels on state of the state

Dateline: Tue 11 Jan 2011

This is from

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana is on fire on school choice; I am reminded of Gov. Robert Orr's education reform:

SCHOOL CHOICE: Daniels proposed a voucher program that would use taxpayer money to help low-income parents send their children to private schools. Daniels and other supporters say it's a matter of fairness that low-income families have the same education options as wealthier families. But opponents say vouchers take money away from cash-strapped public schools and blur the line between church and state. Daniels also proposed a $3,500 scholarship for high school students who graduate a year early that could be used to pay for postsecondary education in Indiana. Some education leaders have questioned how the program might affect high schools and whether high school seniors as young as 16 are mature enough to handle college life.

— CHANGES FOR TEACHERS: Daniels wants merit pay for teachers and wants to use student academic success — as measured by test scores — to help determine how a teacher is performing. Critics of the system question the details of exactly how merit pay would work, but Daniels supports allowing local school districts to come up with their own formulas for rewarding the best teachers as long as student achievement makes up at least half the formula. Daniels also wants to restrict collective bargaining agreements between school boards and teacher unions to focus only on wages and wage-related fringe benefits — not details that don't contribute to student learning. Democrats and union leaders say the collective bargaining rights that have been in place since the 1970s give local districts control to negotiate whatever they feel is important.


Mike Gilllatt [unverified] said:

Ruth---if you get this, contact me at my email. Mike Gilliatt

2011-01-11 21:24:38

whosear [Member] said:

More of the same. Will Americans ever get to the heart of why public lower and higher education has never been good? It's because its primary goal since it's inception has been conformity. Take that away and all periphrial issues fall by the wayside. It's why more grad students from Africa and Latin America go to graduate studies in Chica: they don't have to endure idiological coursework.

The State of Education? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

2011-01-11 23:39:23

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Vouchers. Well, how exactly does giving a parent a voucher for $4K get that parent's child into Park Tudor, for example? Pretty sure their tuition is a wee bit higher than that. Will all charter schools accept the vouchers as "full tuition" payment? Lots of missing information here.

"For profit" colleges. Those have been doing our children so many favors lately, like unmanageable student debt for little return. How would "for profit" chartered schools be any different?

Sixteen year olds going to college? Plenty of overly-indulgent parents seem to be holding their kids out of school until they are 7 yrs old anyway. But, the parents the Governor is touting for vouchers cannot afford that kind of indulgence. Nineteen year old seniors. Still shaking my head over that one.

But, I do remember being a freshman at IU and a friend had a 16 yr old living in his dorm, Dodd's House/Wright Quad. THAT was really tough on the poor kid. Smart as a whip, but lacking in some social maturity thrown into the closest thing to Animal House not bearing Greek letters.

2011-01-12 04:38:04

Parent [unverified] said:

I wish someone would challenge Daniels and call his vouchers proposal what it really is: A way for him to reward his financial supporters who are sending their children to private schools. He can claim he's trying to help low-income parents get a better education for their children but in fact the program can't be offered to one select group without a court challenge from the others. Consequently, the vouchers program would have to be available to everyone ... even the high-income.

Indianapolis is fortunate to have many quality public schools that teach our children necessary academic lessons as well as how to exist in a very diverse society. Say what you will, but the private schools by their nature can't offer the same social lessons.

A former co-worker who chose to homeschool his children was put off that some of his tax money went to fund schools that he didn't use yet was boasting about the government program that allowed him to buy a home. As I pointed out, that was a program I didn't use but as an American, I had a responsibility to pay taxes to help fund it just as he had a responsibility to help fund education. Welcome to America. Personally, I'd prefer my tax dollars fund public education instead of prisons, which is where many of the students are destined to reside if we don't see the need to keep and improve our public schools.

2011-01-12 08:18:42

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Varan...OMG, I lived in Teter. Wright Hosue always was an Animal House.

Re: Ed "Reform".

Ruthie, I've done some trench time on this one, as you know. Gov. Orr's A-plus program was Texas-based: all hat and no cattle. Bob Orr was a nice guy, he had an intolerable wife, and he never uttered a harsh word. But that does not make him an education reform genius.

When vouchers pay for an entire non-religious education, get back to me. Until then, it's more window-dressing. Mitch holds up his beloved Oaks Academy as a shining example: they're great, but so far from normal that the light from that Normal planet won't reach them for 10 years.

I used to live on W 64th St., aka "Genius Road." Sycamore at one end, Orchard at the other. My kids dealt with Orchard/Sycamore grads at North Central. There are some great kids, but let's just say, overwhelmingly, it was what I witnessed standing on 64th whilst tkaing out my garbae once a week at 7:30 AM: indulgent milquetoast moms in gas-hogging SUVs with 29A or 49 "R" plates. Diversity and real world, wherefore art thou?

Here's an ugly secret, and it negates almost any civic-minded reason to serve on a local school board any more: the state now controls almost all of the money, and they'll soon move to control everything else. PropTax caps are going to smack schools real hard in the next few years. It isn't going to be pretty.

Vouchers? Maybe. But not one dime to any religious-based school.

At last check Orchard, Park Tudor, et al: mid-20s per year inclusive. Per kid.

2011-01-12 08:22:56

hendy [Member] said:

I lived on Crows Nest, not far from Orchard. And I've had dealings with the "International" School, Brebeuf, Cathedral, even Ladywood/St Agnes (Remember THAT one?).

Rich achiever parents know few bounds. They also often know lots of xenophobia and racism. Remember what happened to the IPS in 1972 that started the exodus to the 'donut' counties..... busing.

Daniels errs mightily here. The Indiana Constitution guarantees a free public education. Watch now how the opt-out is financed. Too bad Judge Dillon is dead.

2011-01-12 08:48:43

jon [unverified] said:

Part Tudor is not mid-20s, TTH: full freight, incl. books and lunch, around $18,000. Still rather alot, but not as much as you claim. And Hendy, the exodus to the doughnut counties wasn't 1972, it was ten years later when Judge Dillon declared that busing could not cross county lines, hence the Fishers explosion.

2011-01-12 09:24:38

ruthholl [Member] said:

I think teachers' unions have done more to hurt public education than any reform proposed by Daniels ever could. The unions have protected the status quo and inept teachers.
Charters have been a good thing; let people have a choice.
The voucher system makes sense to me. Give everyone who chooses to participate a financial piece of the pie, and let each family choose which school is best-suited to his/her kid.
Obviously this is aimed at helping families without means to go to Orchard, etc.
I also think Daniels has put his money where his mouth is...he supported Oaks Academy financially long before he was governor.
I know this is all complicated, and I am no expert, by a long shot, but it just seems obvious that inertia is not getting the job done. The best thing we can do as a society is help our least he's floating new ideas, or relatively new ones.

2011-01-12 09:31:19

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Well, Ruth, if the Governor really wanted to get rid of inept government employees, he should start with his own hand-picked crew of cronies. Something about people who live in glass houses?

TTT, I didn't live in a dorm, but everyone I knew (as a frosh) who lived in Teter were conscientious and studious (during the week). Maybe I should have tried it? As a frosh, I lived with my great Aunt out past the mall. Then, I lived in an Animal House wanna-be for the other three years. Neither place was conducive to making me any less lazy. Dratted inept schoolteachers.

Unfortunately (for me), I was a lazy student, and my grades ended up showing it fairly clearly. Ah, wasted youth.

2011-01-12 09:56:32

hendy [Member] said:

@jon, the litigation started in 1970. In 1972, the Non-Partisans for Better Schools slate won. In 73-74, the IPS school board caved to the litigation. Outward migration had already begun, but went hell-bent (people scared of black people) after that.

It was Thurgood Marshall that helped SCOTUS decide that separate but equal education was unconstitutional in 1954. It still is. Vouchers will push that trend. Unless we rise a tide that lifts all boats, we rob many of the chance.

Instead of bolstering public schools, vouchers rob public schools of much needed funds, and in doing so, let them become the catch-basin for (expensive) irregularity. It's a huge rebuke and admission of failure-- that the legislature is unable to deal with the simple funding and administration of quality and acheiving local public schools.

2011-01-12 11:09:12

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Well Varan, you hit it about right. I was obsessed with grades as an undergrad. Ditto most Teter friends I made. Later, I got wind of the fun I missed. Post-grad work was much more, uh....spirited.

Attaboy on Mitch's cronies. Alas, every governor has them, but Mitch has elevated crony-aid to a new art form. If I see Mitch Roob anywhere near me in the next decade I'll probably get arrested, for what he did to FSSA via IBM. Alphabet soup, spilled hot and nasty all voer poor people. Mitch was warned and did it anyway. Shameful.

Ruthie, I love 'ya more than my luggage, and you're right about inept teachers. The Oaks thing is admriable, but they are unique, and they accept almost no "problem" students.

Inept teachers are the bane of our systems. But here's a thought:

One person alone has the exclusive right to evaluate and dismiss a bad teacher. That's a principal.

The first "reform" program that recognizes that FACT, and stops bullying the teaching profession, gets my vote.

Every single bad teacher in the world, is there because a principal was too effing lazy to do the hard work required to improve or fire that teacher.

I see no hope. There are too few good principals--I cna give you the names of some, if you want to do a profile. The principal reserve bench is thin and under-talented. They get their credentials from programs at our state universities, mostly...taught by has-been Superintendents who excelled at dodging accountability for decades.

Jon--my best friend's son graduated from PT in 07 or 08. He told me last weekend, his son's final year there was just over 20 large with extras included. And I doubt their fees remained static this year.

He specifically remarked that IU was cheaper by a small amount.

Beat that with a stick.

Good education is not cheap. But if you think it's expensive, try ignorance.

2011-01-12 11:16:45

jon [unverified] said:

Hendy: You're conflating desegregation with the out of Marion County exodus. Two entirely different things. In 1980, Fishers had barely 2000 residents, and in 1990 reached 7,508 (1). Busing out of IPS and into the township schools was in the 1981-2 school year (at least for MSD of Lawrence Twp).

TTT: Then the extras included in Park Tudor for your friend included lots of lacrosse or an expensive class trip. My data came from Park Tudor's website: tuition this year is $16,980 (HS) with another not quite $2k in extras (2). While that's not Culver ($37k boarding, $27k day), it's also not mid-20s.(3)

(1) U.S. Census data from



2011-01-12 13:39:37

Parent [unverified] said:

$16,000 or over $20,000 what's the difference? Either still equates to tuition for a year or longer at many state colleges. And if someone has that kind of money for a K-12 education, they don't need vouchers to lessen the blow.

2011-01-12 15:13:20

hendy [Member] said:

@Jon, sorry. I was there. Fishers was one burg on the rise, but I watched as my neighborhood at 40th & Arlington emptied out to Carmel, Greenfield, Noblesville, Greenwood, Brownsburg, Danville, Clermont, even Zionsville and Lebanon. Fishers growth data doesn't tell the tale.

Busing eventually started. By then, IPS enrollment had dropped, and the townships scrambled to comply.

What I saw reminded me of Alabama, real Stars and Bars stuff. The suburbs grew in each of the donut counties. IPS schools downsized and shutdown altogether in many areas. A lot of the suburban infrastructure wasn't in place to handle the school growth. Drive out of Marion County in ANY direction, and look at the new schools. Now try and find them in any township in Marion County, save Lawrence and Pike.

It's a ticket to get out of public schools, these vouchers are. It's not fixing the problem, it's putting a knife into the very heart of public education, its funding, its quality, and most importantly: the future of those children. It dilutes when we need to strengthen. It slimes, where we need to build dignity and a strong future for all kids, no matter where they live.

2011-01-12 15:35:46

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Public education is surely in need of some serious reform. But, gutting it is perhaps more than a wee bit extreme.

Still, what does one expect from a pol like our Governor?

2011-01-12 15:43:12

Jason [unverified] said:

It would be nice if schoolkids weren't treated as political fodder.

I routinely see kids getting off the school bus at 6 or 6:30, sometimes even 7 in the evening. Kids may live on the Northside and wind up going to Tech while the neighbor across the street gets shipped to Perry Meridian and the kid around the corner goes to Broad Ripple. I have a friend whose parents intentionally moved to Speedway for the schools. This person went to Speedway schools K-8 and then they decided she had to go to Arlington. Rather than spending 3 hours a day on a bus she went to a parochial school. All in the interest of making the schools more 'balanced' and 'fair' while refusing to actually define by number what those words mean. Meanwhile the kids are the ones getting used like chess pawns in this ridiculous game of racial whack-a-mole. I understand racial integration and I agree it's a good thing, but you mean to tell me when you're shipping a child halfway across the city you couldn't find somebody who lived a little closer? As if race is the only thing that makes us different. Ugh. No wonder...

Are charter schools better? Maybe. But there is absolutely no way they could be worse than what we have now.

2011-01-12 22:54:40

hendy [Member] said:

Jason-- you're a white dude, aren't ya?

2011-01-13 07:52:17

Jason [unverified] said:


P.S: white kids get bussed all over the place too.

2011-01-13 09:06:01

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Jon, I'll stick with my good friend's first-hand account. No fee schedule is accurate for your child until all the enrollment is done, extra fees added, etc. Please don't make assumptions about someone's total educational expenditure. I got it from the checkbook's mouth.

Jason--you're naive. Yes, charters can be worse and some are.

The raw data suggests, that non-traditional-public schools can and do heavily filter their prospective enrollees.

When did you last hear this kind of charter/voucher school advertisement:

"We specialize in MMR, MR, and various medical needs. We want all the deaf and blind students, too. We want only the worst cases in these categories, plus the discipline-challenged kids, too. Oh yeah, don't forget, give us your tired, your poor, your bad-parented youngsters. We can't wait to fill a school with them, so our test scores will plummet. Please don't forget the ESL students, and the kids who wander through our halls for 6-12 weeks and move on. We especially want them."

Public schools MUST open their doors to whomever walks through. One prominent elementary on the northside, Greenbriar, in the heart of one of the best school districts around, depending on the grade, routinely churns 30-40% of its student body in a school year. Try to teach around THAT.

But yeah, charters are great. Only they're naive as hell if you think it's even a small part of the solution.

The fix isn't necessarily money. But it's not in any of the solutions I've heard to date.

It doesn't really matter. Daniels is around for two more years, tops. Bennett is a joke. Our legislature has maybe a dozen folks who really get it. Every governor that tries to fiddle around the edges, gets exactly that done--the edges.

Sorry for the doom and gloom. The charter folks just get on my lalst damned nerve sometimes. So myopic.

2011-01-13 09:44:02

Rebecca [unverified] said:

So what are parents supposed to do (especially if you live in IPS?) Are we supposed to sacrifice the children's education and their future by taking a principled stand? Intellectually I get it. I support public education (and attended a public high school where the majority of the graduates attended college). But, when it comes down to your own child - do we sacrifice him/her for the sake of principle? What if your child isn't smart enough (or there aren't available spots) to attend Sidner? What if you are the loser of the CFI (or others) magnet lottery. Then what are your choices? There are many I know who would send their children to public schools if they had the confidence that their children would thrive and prosper. You can talk all you want, especially when you are having a theoretical discussion but the decision becomes much more difficult and it is stressful when you are trying to decide what to do about your child's education. IPS of yesterday (and its famous Shortridge graduates) is not the IPS of today.

2011-01-13 10:38:46

hendy [Member] said:

Rebecca hits the crux of the problem. We're devaluing public schools, diluting them, and creating educational classification by voucher joy.

Wasn't it Lincoln that said we were all born equal? Some are more equal than others.

The IPS and other underperforming districts may never recover from this, or if they do, it might take generations. In the meantime, children suffer. Bad politics.

2011-01-13 12:12:33

Rebecca [unverified] said:

My previous comments didn't take a position regarding vouchers. I write as a parent. I live in IPS but my children do not go to an IPS school. I refuse to throw them under the bus for the sake of argument. They are real; I have an obligation as a parent to do what I think is best for them educationally. And, that meant not sending them to IPS. They are smart enough for Sidner but no spots available. We didn't get in a magnet school via the lottery. What was left was untenable. I say blow up IPS and create a county wide district that the powers that be failed to do so when unigov was created.

2011-01-13 12:43:07

varangianguard [unverified] said:

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if the main thrust behind charter schools was just another way for a certain segment of society to wring more money from the public sector under the guise of "improvements".

There does need to be a paradigm shift in public education, but finding a slier way for some politician and his/her cronies to profit more from it, isn't it.

2011-01-13 13:27:18

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Rebecca, you voted with your wallet and your minivan. Off to a private school.

I moved into a good school district when my first child was 3. We knew she'd need special services, so we moved to Washington Township. They were and still are leader sin that category, and many others.

The cost was higher--we had to settle on a smaller hosue at first.

I guess most good parents do whatever we havhe to. The trouble is, too many of the parents left at IPS are one parent homes, grandparents raising kids, and/or poverty.

They're trapped.

My daughter befriended one of the IPS salutatorians at IU a few years ago. She helped her through some tough science courses. My daughter's completely unscientific experience was: the number-two in that high school was not a great student.

Just sayin'.

2011-01-13 13:38:24

Jason [unverified] said:

I have a friend who teaches at a charter school on the Eastside. The way it turned out over half of their students are kids who got kicked out of IPS. Nobody (well, at least I'm not) is saying charter schools are going to solve the world's problems.

A great school isn't going to turn around a really bad kid or a really bad family. All people want is the ability to have a choice/chance. Not everybody will take it, and that will be THEIR choice. At the very least my children shouldn't be forced into some kind of mandatory latch-key program where they get home from school 2 hours after I get home from work. I don't think it's too much to ask for children to not have an itinerary of bus transfers, have class next to people they've never met, in a place where they've never been.

I like your perspective Rebecca.

2011-01-13 13:57:12

guy77money [unverified] said:

All you posters keep talking about high school. The vouchers (if they come to pass) will have a larger impact on the private elementary schools where the costs for the year are tremendously less. $3,500 a year will come very close to paying for a students elementary education. If they decide to pay for religious based schools it may be a boost for the inner city religious (if they allow it to used for them) schools. My problem with charter schools is they are set up on more experimental name the theme (science, technology, sports and earth science)mythology. Charter schools don't address some of the main problems in the rural areas and they do not take into account for troubled or academically challenged students.

2011-01-13 14:51:28

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Guy, I don't know where you're doing your math, but a year at Orchard, Sycamore, and PT, is five times that. I think Heritage Christian, another good school, is about 10 large. I could be wrong on that one.

And on the northside, those are the "go-to" elementaries with cache for the 29-plate sect. And the 49-R folks, too. And some 49-D folks, as well.

I love my kids, but not that much. More than I paid for my first two cars.

2011-01-13 21:10:41

Ellen McKinney [unverified] said:

public money for faith-based schools is not constitutional, nor should it be.

if you want your child to be taught "creation science," don't ask me to subsidize it. want to send your kid to an all-white, ultra-conservative protestant school? fine. spend your own money to raise kids who won't function well in a diverse setting as adults. want to send your kid to catholic school? don't be my guest, be your own. want your kid to be educated the islamic fundamentalist way? no madrassas on my dime, thankyouverymuch. want your kid to study torah as well as science. luckily for you, the hebrew academy has scholarships funded by the faithful.

want to live where religious schools are subsidized by the state? try northern ireland, where it's worked out so beautifully.

2011-01-13 21:53:34

whosear [Member] said:

As a former Spanish teacher who has taught at IPS, Lawrence and finished with a startup charter school, and who now enjoys working and teaching part time in Costa Rica, it seems that most of the comments trot out the usual suspects. While some of Gov Daniels proposals get at the heart of the matter. I believe based upon my last comment that it still doesn't correct the inherent weakness in public education: conformity.

I've have discovered that many of the great advances in most fields are accomplished by college dropouts.

Ruth, I take issue with the unions being detrimental. The union reps at both IPS schools were master teachers, and didn't back inept teachers. IPS has bounced good teachers out when they fell out of favor (to the improvement of other school systems) They saved my career when I was accused of shoving a student (they forced IPS to review the videotape). They are the only protection for inept administrators.

Lawrence received the first wave of IPS black flight from IPS in the late 90's when 0 down housing was built. It was fun to watch others struggle with it (they hired alot of IPS teachers, who were bemused at the struggles of the vets in Lawrence.) They've had more parental involvement there, and have been innovative in dealing with the, "discipline-challenged", ie; knuckleheads. I still enjoy subbing there when I'm back in the States for awhile.

The societal chaos created by the baby boom generation did not happen overnight. It will not be resolved anytime soon.

2011-01-13 23:36:15

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ellen for President

2011-01-14 06:02:41

jon [unverified] said:

TTT: Parishioner rate for St Thomas Aquinas is $3910. (1)

St Richard's is $13,510 (2)

Heritage runs six-and-a-half to nine and change, depending on grade level. (3)

(1) But brown bag lunches.
(2) All included; add a thousand a year for aftercare to 4.30. I write the check, so my first-hand experience trumps all, according to your logic. Your friend's tuition bill included a trip to Costa Rica (like these middle-schoolers: I'm not counting extras, he was.

2011-01-18 10:10:49

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Ahhhhh.the genteel "parishoner rate" Most folks I know aren't parishoners.

And so it goes.

2011-01-18 10:25:45

Jason [unverified] said:

I'll throw in a wrinkle or two. Our tax dollars are already paying for many faith-based initiatives, not that I agree with it but people seem to have a bit of moral fluidity on the subject oftentimes.

I've always held the belief (pardon the pun) that a secular course in religion would do well at the high school level. It would probably have to be an AP class, complete with waivers from the parents just to be on the safe side. Done correctly it would piss off all the far-wingers, indicating that it's maintaining some objectivity. Religious Studies has been taught at the college level in public schools for decades, IU has one of the best in the country.

I've always been curious how you can teach world civilization or history class without bringing up religion as well.

2011-01-19 03:57:24

Comments are closed.


or Register


Syndicate Blog