Summary of Education Losses at End of 2016 Session

first_imgPosition Paper: Summary of Education Losses at End of 2016 SessionBy Ann Ennis, Republican Candidate for State Rep. District 64The Legislative Agenda published by the Indiana House Republicans in January 2016 stated they will “Support Educators and Students; Goal: Attract and Retain the Best Teachers and Streamline Testing.”During this last two weeks of session, representatives and senators in the General Assembly went to worrisome lengths to push through a bill that expands taxpayer vouchers to experimental start-up schools, and further isolates and frustrates teachers. This was a rapid, re-named and covert 180-degree turn from its January Agenda.As a Republican who supports local control, fiscal responsibility and open admission to K-12 education for all, I was dumbstruck.Senate Bill 334, a voucher expansion bill originated with a plea by a charter school to allow mid-year voucher access for dropouts. A noble reason. But as the bill evolved, the high school drop-out directive disappeared. SB334 became a general expansion of vouchers for primarily middle income families who wish to transfer mid-year. Year-round voucher access creates headaches for private and parochial schools, as well as takes money from public schools. Our parochial schools do not have staff to manage the accounting required for reporting on flexed year-round vouchers. They will probably wind up paying more money to voucher administration corporations: that it not helping education. According to ICPE, the money in play is estimated to be $2.1 million. The voucher administrating corporations may get a large cut of that.When SB334 became threatened by voter outcry and fiscal conservatives throughout the state, leadership rolled it quietly (over a weekend) into HB 1005.HB 1005 passed. Teachers are angry about the way extra-curricular stipend pay will be allotted in the core of this bill. But now, also, vouchers are expanded at the request of experimental start-up schools, with the hidden SB334.Going into an election it is unwise to look anti-teacher, but HB 1005, with SB 334 inside it, are anti-teacher.The current representation of Republicans in Senate and House has stepped into every K-12 classroom from Reitz to St. Wendel, from Princeton to Joshua Academy to the point that master teachers and new teachers are resigning in droves. Few college students are lining up to replace them. HB 1005 does not help.The ISTEP crisis and the transition to tougher standards deserved the full attention of our General Assembly in 2016. But instead of following its own Legislative Agenda, the incumbents waged and won another covert battle to expand vouchers benefiting voucher administration corporations, and at the cost of teacher and student morale.Now watch as more tax money goes to fund year-round advertising and marketing by voucher administrators and with it by our public schools. Why? Because Indianapolis has created an unending tug of war among schools to find the best students – and in doing so we are leaving the most in need and disabled along the wayside.FOOTNOTE:  this letter was posted without opinion, bias or editing.FOOTNOTES: Our next “IS IT TRUE” will be posted on this coming Friday?Please take time and read our newest feature article entitled “HOT JOBS“posted in this section are from Evansville proper.If you would like to advertise in the CCO please contact us City-County [email protected] “Readers Poll” question is: If the election was held today for State Representative District 77 who would you vote for?Copyright 2015 City County Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributedFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

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