Letter to the Editor

Are they really 'putting students first'?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

To the Editor:

"Putting Students First."

This is the catch phrase Gov. Daniels and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett are using to promote their expansive legislation that will all but destroy public education.

For weeks now, I have listened to the governor and his supporters accuse teachers of being greedy and refusing to improve their schools. The money being taken from public schools is per student money, not money to be used for teacher raises.

Saying teachers are greedy and unwilling to change, Gov. Daniels, is a lie. One thing I have learned as a teacher is that no child feels he has to lie if the truth is on his side.

So, are you really putting students first?

Are students put first when money is taken from public schools and given to charter schools? Let's be clear: there will be no charter schools in Putnam County, yet money will be taken from our schools to fund charter schools.

When the governor assures you that charter schools are public schools, remember that they are still allowed to SELECT which students may attend.

What's public about that besides our tax dollars?

Are students put first when, in Gov. Daniels' proposed legislation, no more than 50 percent of teachers in any charter school are ALLOWED to be certified? How could anyone believe that uncertified/un-licensed teachers are BETTER than certified ones?

Are students put first by taking public school money and transferring it to charter schools when charter schools hold 35 of the BOTTOM 50 spots in ISTEP performance?

The Department of Education knows this; they generated the reports. Yet, Dr. Bennett insists that they are the magic cure for all that ails Indiana schools.

Are students put first when money is taken from all public schools and given to private school vouchers only worth $2,000?

No one can pay for a private school with that, but Greencastle schools will certainly feel the cut.

As a Legacy Award winning teacher in Center Grove School District, I have spent over 10 years putting students first. Even more important to me is that as a parent and a resident of Greencastle, I have watched my child's teachers put their students first again and again and again.

All students, regardless of learning ability, financial situation, religious beliefs, or family political background are welcomed in the doors of public schools.

While true reform and change are good, public schools are a foundation upon which our country has become great. Taking money from those schools will do nothing to improve the resources available to students or the teachers trying to help them.

Please, for the sake of our own community and to truly put students first, contact Sen. Lawson, Rep. Baird, and the governor, and let them know that we value public schools.

Tell them you won't be lied to anymore.

Alisa K. Isaacs-Bailey

Greencastle, Indiana