"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Local Control?

Indiana's Governor Mitch Daniels has signed into law a new collective bargaining law which prohibits teachers and school boards from including anything beyond wages and wage-related benefits starting on July 1. Certain parts of the law, limiting contracts to one year, and removing evaluation procedures from contracts go into effect immediately.

The previous collective bargaining law had been in effect since 1973. Shane Grimes, area Uniserv director with the Indiana State Teachers Association said he doesn’t understand how dismantling that law, and taking away most items that are negotiated, helps local people have more control.

Tony Bennett, Indiana superintendent of public instruction, claims that this will give school boards more control. How will taking away the ability to discuss items and put them in the teachers contract give them more control? How will restricting teacher contracts to only one year give them more control?

How is this going to help students? How will eliminating evaluation procedures, class size and school calendars from contract discussions help students?

The truth is that this law is merely one more link in the chain holding Indiana's public schools in place which Daniels is trying to break. Like his counterpart in Wisconsin, Daniels is doing what he can to break the teachers union, whether it helps public schools and children in Indiana or not. This politically spiteful move is just one step towards eliminating teachers unions and eventually to privatizing public schools (Steps two and three in this attack on the public schools in Indiana are vouchers for private schools and increased charter schools -- neither of which have been shown to improve student achievement and both of which drain money from regular public schools).
Vigo County Schools Superintendent Dan Tanoos said he does not agree with the changes to the collective bargaining law. “We bargain very cooperatively with our teachers association,” he said. The new law “is a step backwards.”

“We have a great relationship and we want to maintain that working relationship,” Tanoos said. Even though the law has changed, “I still think we would want to have meaningful discussion” on issues affecting teachers.
Superintendent Tanoos knows that issues which effect teachers effect students.

Read the entire article HERE.
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