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Old 01-11-2011, 05:38 PM
 
Location: the Great Lakes states
801 posts, read 2,566,721 times
Reputation: 557

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I liked a lot of what I heard in Mitch's speech....

- Fiscal prudence and a balanced budget
- "A more progressive state"
- Reworking of the criminal justice system
- Elimination of townships


Separate comments here about Mitch's education agenda...

- I appreciate his acknowledgement of the failures of many public schools. Interesting comments he made. Actually, I'm pretty impressed with his comments on teaching and education. I like the 11-year graduation idea -- greatly. I also really believe that parents should be able to choose the school of their choice -- Mitch made some strong remarks. I'll be interested to see what happens. I believe strongly in public schools -- but I also know that in many areas there are no good choices for parents and students in the local public schools. I hope charters don't take over our system -- but in some places, they might have to due to the culture of failure in the public schools.


The one (major) point of dissension I have with the Governor is that I think that before a tax refund to anyone should be considered, that we need to...

- Improve many of our highways to modern standards -- I'm still not happy with the general safety of travel in this state (think of 26 and 32 going across east to west)
- Fund full-day kindergarten and "success by six" type programs
- Bolster our environmental quality and stop watering down the environmental standards
- Fund some strategic initiatives for our most struggling cities, before we lose them for good. The state needs to sit down with those cities and regions and plan strategically, together.
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Old 01-12-2011, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,712 posts, read 3,078,282 times
Reputation: 1824
I liked how the speech is only 30 mins!

On a serious note, I do think we need a major reworking of how this country views K-12 education. We are seriously lacking behind other counties, and America is starting to slowly follow Europe in terms of laziness "It's my right!" socialism. This mentality that every kid has to get a ribbon, every kid is a winner, that as long as you "try," we will pass you...this will lead to the destruction of America, just as we see Europe unraveling.

I believe that one of the strengths of this country has been that people are responsible for themselves. As we continue to bailout screw up after screw up, we slowly turn towards breaking up into nation states with the country. So there are bigger things affecting K-12 than just the teacher in the room. Looking just at K-12 though, the idea of graduating 11th grade is awesome. We need to promote our older teens to be more like adults, instead of treating them like "children" until they finally hit their mid-20s. I know Mitch already did something in this area in the past, but I'm still not happy with how luxurious some K-12 school facilities are. It isn't just sports facilities, but these open air, two story atrium entries and stuff. Such a total waste of space. If you support smarter construction, for environmental and limited waste, you can't support these schools building these open air, two story facilities. I can only imagine what energy costs are to climate control all that wasted space.

The problem is that the status quo in this country is highly protected by teacher's unions, and "professional organizations" (unrecognized union and lobbying groups really) that represent principles and superintendents. There is big money in the K-12 industrial complex, and they are going to fight like mad to keep the status quo. Luckily for Indiana, we are starting to turn away from the status quo, and I think it will be for the better. I have no idea why folks have an aversion to one dime of public tax money going to send a kid to a neighborhood religious, or non-religious charter school. If there should be a total and complete separation of church and state, then my tax money shouldn't be going to fund any kid's college education at Notre Dame, Anderson Univ., etc.. Why should those kids at such religious institutions be given federally backed GOVERNMENT student loans?

To me, if we can allow for kids to get federal money to attend any higher educational facility, the same idea should be applied to K-12 as well. I'm not a big Christer, but if I felt that a Christian school would provide better education than the "public" school down the road, I should be able to take my taxpayer money and use that to send my kid to the school I want him or her to attend.

There is also the issue of pay and benefits. I would rather pay teachers a decent wage (say starting in the low to mid-40s) and reward those who do a better job with better pay. There is no reason a second or third year math teacher should be able to make $60K/year if the kids in that school or blowing state and federal test scores out of the water. Pensions must be rolled way back, if not eliminated all together. Public pensions, not just teacher pensions, are bankrupting Illinois, California, and New Jersey.

With all that being said, the #1 issue with K-12 isn't teachers, or wasted money, it is the parents. If we continue down the path of "life should be easy" "everyone deserves a $50K/year job, with unlimited OT" etc. etc., this country will continue on its path to third world status. You can only tax those who are willing to work hard, and produce, and eventually even those people throw their arms up and say "Screw it!" If this country continues to bailout the consumer class, without massive budget cuts in say military spending, taxes will have to be raised to oppressive levels. We have too many kids born to single mothers, and that is the #1 issue on why our kids aren't graduating from mostly urban school districts. The second issue is how Americans are starting to view and easy, comfortable lifestyle as a "right." If attitudes don't change, don't expect K-12 education to change. A teacher can only do so much.

With the highway safety thing, I would like to see all Indiana interstates and divided state highways have wire barrier median systems installed. Most of your interstate fatalities involve cross-over, head on crashes. These devices have a proven track record, and Indiana needs to get moving on this front.
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Old 01-12-2011, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Turn Left at Greenland
17,764 posts, read 39,734,665 times
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The union issue is bunk. The problem with k-12 public education in this state is LAZY ADMINISTRATORS. Many administrators and principals, including our own state superintendent were themselves, lousy teachers and administrators of public school systems. The unions would gladly take part in getting rid of tenured teachers if Principals and Superintendents would DO THEIR JOBS in ensuring that the best teachers are rewarded and stick around.

And let me tell you, one of the biggest opponents of the voucher system are the private schools themselves. They are private because they want to be selective in who attends their schools.
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Old 01-12-2011, 10:12 AM
 
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,712 posts, read 3,078,282 times
Reputation: 1824
Quote:
Originally Posted by domergurl View Post
The union issue is bunk. The problem with k-12 public education in this state is LAZY ADMINISTRATORS. Many administrators and principals, including our own state superintendent were themselves, lousy teachers and administrators of public school systems. The unions would gladly take part in getting rid of tenured teachers if Principals and Superintendents would DO THEIR JOBS in ensuring that the best teachers are rewarded and stick around.

And let me tell you, one of the biggest opponents of the voucher system are the private schools themselves. They are private because they want to be selective in who attends their schools.
The union issue isn't bunk. I'm not going to say they have 90% or more responsibility, but they have some. We have school districts laying off young, great teachers, all because an old teacher wants to sit in their classroom and "teach" because they are making anywhere from $50-$60K/year. Big city police departments have a name for old cops who transfer to the cake assignments: ROD--retired on-duty. The exact same thing is happening in the high school I went to, and it is happening in districts around the state. Loads are protected via UNION contracts.

Now we can argue about admins and school boards accepting those contracts, but if they don't, we see teacher's outside walking a picket line. If you want to protect the union, then you want to protect the status quo. There is no way around it. Unions should be in the business of protecting employees from workplace harm. To me, this is limited to safe environments, legal protection from claims of wrongdoing, etc.. All one has to do is read the IndianaBarrister Blog's past post on some inclusions in UNION contracts to see they are part of the problem.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:43 PM
 
Location: the Great Lakes states
801 posts, read 2,566,721 times
Reputation: 557
Quote:
Originally Posted by domergurl View Post
The union issue is bunk. The problem with k-12 public education in this state is LAZY ADMINISTRATORS. Many administrators and principals, including our own state superintendent were themselves, lousy teachers and administrators of public school systems. The unions would gladly take part in getting rid of tenured teachers if Principals and Superintendents would DO THEIR JOBS in ensuring that the best teachers are rewarded and stick around.
Many are, yes.

Some are good, even exceedingly good.

Quote:
Originally Posted by indy_317 View Post
We have school districts laying off young, great teachers, all because an old teacher wants to sit in their classroom and "teach" because they are making anywhere from $50-$60K/year.
I've substituted in schools where that's the case. It's really sad to think of the potentials that could be getting reached in those classrooms, and the progress that isn't happening in these students' lives because of unhappy, counting-the-days-till-retirement teachers they have to deal with every day.

Meanwhile we have dozens if not hundreds of teachers who are well-trained, passionate, and want to teach, and can't.
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