"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

Friday, January 30, 2015

An Open Letter to Indiana's Public School Teachers

Dear Teachers,

Over the last several years...
  • You have lost many of your collective bargaining rights.
  • You have lost the right to due process when it comes to your job. You can now be fired for teaching hard to educate, and hard to accelerate students because...
  • You have lost the right to use your professional judgment with your students, instead being forced to rely on inadequate and massive amounts of testing -- testing which robs you and your students of valuable instructional time. Those same tests are now the basis of your evaluation no matter what happens to your students outside of school. You have no control over their family income, their neighborhood safety issues, their emotional health, or the ability of their parents to get them adequate mental, physical, and dental health care. All of those issues have a bearing on your students' achievement, yet you alone are held responsible for their academic success or failure.
  • You have lost the right to use your school's communications to discuss "certain" topics, even while former public officials did the same thing.
  • Your schools have lost millions of dollars of tax money being transferred to private schools and charter schools with the ability to choose their clientele, while your schools must accept every child who enters its doors.
  • Your schools have been forced to spend millions of their scarce dollars on those same inadequate and massive testing programs.
This year, there are bills before the state legislature which will...
  • Allow the State Board of Education to usurp the authority of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Indiana Department of Education.
  • Allow charter and non-public schools to administer different tests than the ones your students are required to take.
  • Allow for a hostile takeover of your bargaining agent.
  • Provide for more forced testing at a younger age...and for that testing to be a larger part of your evaluation. 
  • Eliminate your right to any collective bargaining.
This year the Governor's plan would...
  • Allow private, parochial, and charter schools to circumvent restrictions which your school must follow.
  • Allow even more tax money to be spent on vouchers and charter schools resulting in fewer resources and larger classes in your public school.
  • Increase the interference of so-called "Merit Pay" plans, which deny adequate financial remuneration to teachers who teach hard to educate and hard to accelerate students.
Public schools are starved of resources...public school teachers are forced to teach in ways which are not conducive to real learning...and then public schools and public school teachers are blamed for low achievement.

The Governor, State Board of Education, and legislature are still trying to negate the State Superintendent of Public Instruction election of 2012. They are still trying to privatize public education. They are still trying to destroy the state's teachers unions.

Isn't it time for you to speak up? Your students deserve a fully funded public education system. You deserve a profession of which you can be proud, focused on best practices and professional growth not interference by uneducated and inexperienced politicians.

Learn about what the legislature is doing this year. Their actions will have an impact on you and your ability to teach your students. Stay informed with...
  • the Parent Community Network of Monroe County (on FaceBook)
  • the American Federation of Teachers - Indiana (Website).
At the very least contact your legislators and urge them to end the battle against public education and public school educators.


The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.

Stop the Testing Insanity!




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