Letter to the Editor

Stop the insanity at the State Capitol

Friday, March 4, 2011

To the Editor:

I am writing in hopes of raising awareness and to inform readers of the lunacy currently emanating from our State Capitol.

During this legislative session bills are being introduced, debated, promoted, and disguised as educational reform. They will have a tremendously adverse effect on our children should they become law.

After review of the current proposals, practitioners have determined they are D.O.A. There is nothing that improves, empowers, or promotes the delivery of content or instruction to our children. However, our public schools will suffer from additional imposed mandates with. less flexibility to implement and far fewer resources to exercise their added responsibilities.

One such example is the proposal that only certain topics are bargainable or discussable within the ranks of educators. Today's teachers are innovators and collaborators, not just in and amongst the ranks of those delivering the instruction, but throughout, and at times even beyond local corporations. To forbid local boards and administrators from pursuing an ongoing open dialogue with teachers will most assuredly and quite quickly stifle the positive climate within any school.

Likewise, funding private charter schools, which according to our State Constitution qualifies as unconstitutional, only reduces the amount of resources to be shared by our already struggling budget stripped public schools. The Governor has decreed on multiple occasions that budgets for public schools must be butchered while he advocates for more charters and more funding for those charters. Interestingly, he doesn't reveal that most of the lowest of the lower performing schools are charter schools. Where are we to find the funds for the charters? Revenue forecast are dismal. Money doesn't grow on trees, so those funds must come from the same line item that funds our public schools.

Finally, just about anyone that takes a fancy and can pass a background check can easily qualify to teach.

These initiatives though promoted as productive are viewed by educators as punitive and punishing retribution. It seems there are those in Indianapolis that are demeaning the dignity of their office and their purview by playing the blame game.

I wonder does it make sense to blame dedicated facilitators and feign an attempt to improve the teaching of our children by punishing educators? If so, then would it not also be reasonable to blame doctors and health care providers for the ongoing problem we have with heart disease and morbid obesity. Perhaps we should blame law enforcement when someone makes a conscious decision to break a law? How about blaming the fire department when a house catches fire, or perchance it is my mechanics fault when my car breaks down?

Of course that is ridiculous, even preposterous, because there are so many variables at play here, and many variables are outside the control of the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. But to those of us who have assumed the intricate and delicate responsibility of imparting knowledge, concepts, and life lessons to our youngsters, that's exactly what appears to be happening to our public schools.

Julian Smith