Privatization is bad for students, teachers and hoosier families

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wake up Indiana, before it's too late.

Curriculum and extracurricular cuts in our school districts are becoming the norm. Many school districts are being forced to do away with art, music and physical education.

Class sizes are on the increase statewide. More and more school districts are foregoing transportation as a cost-cutting measure and even more have initiated pay to play to participate in extra-curricular activities.

These cost-cutting measures and more are being taken across our state by school districts doing their best to survive. After making cut after cut, some Hoosiers are facing the ultimate sacrifice of losing their school district to consolidation, which has been one of Governor Daniels' stated goals.

If you think that it can't get worse, think again!

Our governor and state superintendent of public education have decided to privatize our schools in Indiana. They are going to turn our school districts over to for-profit corporations to manage those districts that they label as failing.

Most districts are fighting to make it with the funding that they receive. Now a for-profit business is going to pocket a percentage of that funding, which means less spending on students in districts with the most need.

Over 90 percent of the students in Indiana attend public schools. Mitch Daniels and Tony Bennett would have us believe that our public schools are failing our children.

I beg to differ.

Is there room for improvement in our schools? Of course there is. We are striving for improvement, higher standards, better graduation rates and accountability.

But some would have you believe that if every child does not excel, then it is the teacher's fault. Teachers today are better prepared than ever before. They are working harder and longer than ever before and yet they meet with more frustration than any group of educators before them.

We will be fortunate if we can entice young people into the field of education; let alone keeping those that have chosen to dedicate their lives to our children. Teachers used to be respected, but now they continually take a browbeating.

Wake up Indiana, before it is too late.

If you believe, as our forefathers did, that public schools are a foundation of our democracy, then speak up.

If you are tired of your district having to make cuts that are taking opportunities from your children and grandchildren, then speak up.

If you believe in your teachers, then speak up.

Let your legislators know that you will be watching how they vote on issues that affect our public schools and teachers.

Rick Muir is the president of the Indiana Federation of Teachers.

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