As the 2014 legislative session comes to a close, legislative trends and efforts are clearly earmarked by examples of discrimination, favoritism for religious interests and increased profit making for businesses and investors at the expense of public education. Here are some questions about education issues and current bills along with the “answers” 2014 legislators are considering.
Q: Public schools not doing well enough?
A: Take more money away from them rather than earmark money for improvement.
Q: Not enough money in the state coffers to increase funding for education?
A: Cut taxes for business owners that will further reduce school funds without replacement money. (HB 1001)
Q: Concerned about discriminatory hiring practices in the workplace and withholding services from anyone (e.g. sexual orientation) on the basis of religion?
A: State Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, going on record to rebuff giving state money grants to institutions who discriminate hiring on the basis of religion.
A: But allow charter and private schools that receive state tax dollars to discriminate against students based on ability, special needs and religion (sexual orientation?).
Q: Charter schools and private schools are supposedly better?
A: Allow private and charter schools to reject students who would drag down their performance, or whose needs they don’t want to meet.
A: Allow private voucher schools to be exempt from state exams and meeting accommodations for special needs students. (SB 282)
Q: Need better teachers in underperforming schools with the most disadvantaged students?
A: Provide financial incentives for highly qualified teachers to transfer to underperforming charter schools, but not underperforming public schools. (SB 264 being considered for HB 1319)
Q: School shootings and student safety a concern?
A: Allow concealed guns in cars in school parking lots. (SB 229)
Q: Is there verified research that preschool programs for the most disadvantaged children will raise achievement?
A: Do not allow a pilot program because it will cost money and then make it a pipeline to vouchers. (HB 1004 - summer study session)
A: Remain one of only a few states without mandatory kindergarten and state-funded preschool program.
Q: Want high state education standards?
A: Reject Common Core Standards due to objection from religious and private schools. (SB 91)
Q: Concerned about filling the void left by rejecting Common Core Standards?
A: Create ridiculously short timeline to develop the highest educational standards and new state test. Fail to consider time for retooling curricula, instructional strategies and costs.
How long will the public endure and accept such obvious illogical contradictions, hypocrisies and discrimination regarding public education? Contact both Republican and Democrat lawmakers.
Join the Indiana Coalition of Public Education Network (ICPE).