Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Tony Bennett Legacy

Tony Bennett left many "messes" for Hoosiers to contend with.  Along with his many disastrous reforms, he also gave CTB McGraw-Hill (a campaign contributor) a vendor contract for ISTEP testing.  This week as ISTEP testing was to get underway, computer glitches have caused a suspension/pause in testing two days in a row.  New state Superintendent Glenda Ritz is on top of the situation, and is working with CTB to aleviate the problems and reach appropriate solutions. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


House Bill 1003 – Voucher Expansion
The word going around the Statehouse on Tuesday was that a conference committee on voucher expansion was planning to give vouchers to all who live in attendance areas of “D” schools as well as “F” schools. This move would be a huge expansion, even beyond the Senate version of the number of students that would get vouchers for living in the attendance areas of failing schools. Instead of 148 F school areas, it would affect 389 D or F schools. That is 18.6% of all schools. Remember, this uses the flawed and widely disrespected A-F system introduced by Tony Bennett last October.

Let your Senator and Representative in the House know that using the flawed A-F system to give vouchers to 18% of Indiana’s school attendance areas is wrong. It will unfairly impact too many schools that were graded unjustly under the A-F system. They should vote HB 1003 down until a revised A-F system that has the confidence of the public is in place.
The Conference Committee report is expected soon which meshes the Senate version and the House version of voucher expansion. Then both houses must pass the final report one more time. We are hoping that changes made in the final version of the bill will lead legislators who voted for vouchers the first time around to decide to vote it down in the final vote. Your messages to them about the A-F system may motivate them to switch.
Contact your Senator and ask them to VOTE NO on HB1003
Several of the Senators are seriously in a tough spot now that House leader Behning changed the bill. Let them hear from the mountaintops! Shout it out! Stand up for your local schools! This bill doesn't make any sense, but it sure does take a lot dollars out of your community!
Specifically contact these senators who appear to be waivering due to Behning's changes.
Rodric Bray s37@in.gov  
Jean Leising
Johnny Nugent

Luke Kenly s20@in.gov
Dennis Kruse
Greg Walker

Brent Waltz s36@in.gov
Brent Steele

Copy the following letter and Paste into your message.

Dear Senator,

I was astounded and sorely disappointed by your vote for Hb1003. The House version coming back over to the Senate is estimated to cost traditional public schools $100 million in four short years. Traditional public education can not survive and effectively instruct the children of our state while taking that type of cut in funding on top of the original $300 million cut that was never fully restored.

But an opportunity exist for redemption. When the amended House version arrives which has been modified by Representative Behning to be even more damaging to traditional public schools than the Senate version, just vote NO.

Will be watching with interest and hopeful anticipation,

Sign your name and send.
HB1338 – Charter School Administration and A-F Revisions
This new version of HB 1338 is 39 pages long, and the last four pages propose a rewrite of Public Law 221 to recreate the A-F system following Rep. Behning’s revision that he introduced early in the session in House Bill 1337.
One issue is that it uses the Indiana Chamber of Commerce’s proposal for how to change PL221 that the House resoundingly voted down in HB 1337 back in February. It goes into prescriptive detail in telling the State Board how to prepare a new A-F system.
The other controversial addition to the new HB 1338 is to put the “A” through “F” labels in Indiana law. This proposal drew immediate opposition from Rep. Vernon Smith and Sen. Rogers during Monday’s brief conference committee meeting.
Let us remember what happened to this language back in February when it was pages 2-4 of House Bill 1337. It was defeated decisively 61-33, with 31 members of the Republican caucus turning against it.
We need to ask them to turn against it AGAIN!
Senate Bill 189
SB 189 originated as a bill to provide some flexibility to school districts that were... deemed "A" districts. One of the key issues embedded in ESB 189 has been enabling "high-performing" districts to have calendar flexibility (ie. to allocate the 180-day school year into equivalent hours/minutes and not be bound by 180 separate days of instruction).

The House sponsor, Representative Todd Huston (R-Fishers) amended ESB 189 to remove the 180-day calendar year flexibility and he replaced it with enabling high-schoolers at "qualified high schools" to go to school for something less than a six-hour instructional day-in effect, as the bill read, "a student instructional day for a qualified high school consists of 'any amount of instructional time'."
At its core, SB 189 has become a "high school redesign" reform bill and at the very least, this new concept has funding implications, accountability implications, virtual education issues, student safety implications, teacher force implications, and taxpayer implications.  
The proposed Conference Committee Report did not "fix" any of these concerns.

In fact, it makes it clear that any student activity that is organized by the "A" grade district, an "A" grade high school, or a "waiver" high school that "occurs outside the traditional classroom" and is "designed to provide instruction or academic enrichment" is considered student instructional time. In effect, outside activities are on a par in value to classroom instruction.
While it didn't start out that way, SB 189 has become yet another major education reform-this time with minimal public input since this new high school concept was not inserted until later in the 2nd half of the session.
Please contact both your Representative and your Senator to  OPPOSE Conference Committee Report #1 to SB 189.

Special Thanks to Vic Smith and to Keep the Promise Indiana for providing helpful information.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


In November Hoosier voters made history when 3.1 million cast ballots to elect Glenda Ritz, Democrat, as Superintendent of Public Instruction.  We have made our voices heard every day since the November Election, carrying our support of PUBLIC education loudly throughout the legislative session.  It appears we may still have a chance to put an end to the Daniels/Bennett agenda and stop Representative Bob Behning from further implementing and ramrodding ALEC legislation down our throats.  We MUST act now!  Over the next 24 hours, we can make one last push to bring the largest of his destructive measures to an end.  We CAN STOP VOUCHER EXPANSION!!
Here is what we needs to happen. . .

Bob Behning, yes the florist turned education expert,  wants $$MORE MONEY$$ for vouchers and he wants to include D & F schools as "failing" to be eligible for them.

Therefore, with a change in the senate version, voucher concurrence will more than likely have to go back through both houses.
WE can still win in the Indiana Senate.

We currently need 3 NO votes. Several Senators are on RECORD stating that they would vote NO if the House added any money or changed the bill.

Well - they did. The voucher bill "could" cost Indiana $100 million in less than 5 years with a flawed A-F system, and Common Core forcing private schools to comply!  Do you know a Tea Party patriot alive today that is FOR ANY of that.

Get on the phone. Get on your computers. NEVER SAY NEVER!

Indiana is known for Common Sense - let's remind our legislators to use IT!!!

We can stop the largest voucher bill in America and come up with sensible "reform" that doesn't bankrupt our local PUBLIC schools, and base funding on flawed ALEC A-F models that are being rebuked across America.

In New York, and other states across the country, parents are OPTING out of state testing and threatening to shut down school compliance. In Florida, teachers are suing the state as French teachers don't like being graded for 10th grade math scores on testing. In Texas, the state that kicked off this "miracle of reform," the legislature voted NO on vouchers!!!!!

Call, write, email and get 3 friends to do it before Thursday!!!!!

There's a chance here to stop the literal destruction of YOUR public school. You can help. Do something. Do it now!

IF 3 Senators change their vote, this bill is DEAD this session.

Let's make history again and put this awful bill out of play for this session!!!!

Contact ALL Senators and then make a specific call to State Senator Rodric Bray. Ask them to vote against the expanded (Behning additions) voucher bill. Senator Bray of Martinsville may very well be the vote needed to STOP VOUCHER EXPANSION.

Remember the Tuesday Tattler 10? They need to be reminded Those who voted NO before, need to Vote NO again, and those who voted YES need to understand the repercussions of their actions on our PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Click Name to link to email

Others to contact immediately

Senator Kenley

Senator Mishler

Senator Waltz

(Thanks to Justin Oakley for providing information for this post)


Let's take a look at last minute power struggles in the Indiana State Legislature.  As usual, Representative Bob Behning is at the core of most of the bills focussed on the destruction of Indiana's PUBLIC schools and set to dole out more funding to his favored private school contributors.  Along with the expansion of vouchers, Representative Behning seems intent on continuing the reform wagon pulled by former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.  Take a look at the bills listed below, where they stand in each house of the state legislature, and who is supporting or opposing each. 
According to StateImpact . . .
  • Senate Bill 1: A conference committee looking at the school safety bill is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday. As you may be aware, the controversial amendment requiring armed personnel in every Indiana school has been sent to summer study committee, but lawmakers still need to work out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

  • Senate Bill 207: Last week the House agreed to a partial rollback of a 2011 law that bars undocumented students from paying in-state tuition. The bill goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

  • House Bill 1003: The bill’s author, Rep. Bob Behning, R-Indianapolis, says he won’t fight Senate changes to the bill that significantly narrow voucher expansion. Instead, he’s proposed a modest increase in the tuition cap — $400 over the next two years.

  • House Bill 1327: House lawmakers were expected to vote Monday on a proposal to relax superintendent licensure requirements. Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann cast the tie-breaking vote when the bill left the Senate earlier this month. Now the House needs to approve those changes before the bill can go to Gov. Mike Pence.

  • House Bill 1427: We’re waiting to see if a proposal that would halt implementation of new academic standards will pass the House or head to conference committee. Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis, added anti-Common Core language to the bill after a separate Senate timeout proposal stalled in the House Education Committee. Behning, who chairs that panel, is a staunch supporter of the new standards and says he’d like to see HB 1427 head to conference committee, but Schneider feels he has the votes he needs in the House to succeed.

  • When we look ahead to the end of this session, April 29 at latest, we must also begin looking ahead to future elections and determine who we need to take a close look at voting out. 

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013


    Today the Tuesday Tattler takes a Timeout from tattling on those who seek to destroy public education.  Instead of tattling on anyone this week, the Tattler looks to explain the existence of Hoosier Voices for Public Education.

    Hoosier Voices for Public Education is your Independent Source for PUBLIC Education Information. 

    The mission from day one has been that Hoosier Voices is dedicated to the support of Indiana's public schools. We will discuss ideas, share information, and continue to hold our government representatives accountable.  We will discuss ideas and policies that affect the learning environments of Hoosier school children, as well as past, present, and future legislation that seeks to undermine the very characteristic of what it means to be a PUBLIC school in Indiana.  We will work together to stand up for Hoosier school children statewide.

    Hoosier Voices prides itself as an "independent" and "free of charge" organization for supporting Indiana's PUBLIC schools.  Hoosier Voices for Public Education is beholden to no one.  This organization does not receive funds from lobbying organizations.  Hoosier Voices is unlike other advocacy groups in that it is an independent source of information flow to public education supporters.  This organization represents ALL of Indiana's public school children, their parents, their teachers, and all who seek to support a traditional public education in the state of Indiana.  This is done without ever asking for "membership fees" to pay lobbyists or to "bankroll" political campaigns.  Hoosier Voices does not pay for lobbyists, as there is a much much larger cause than any one lobbyist can support.  Instead Hoosier Voices acts to inform public education supporters of important situations and circumstances that require each one can act individually to advocate for the public education they support.

    Hoosier Voices for Public Education will remain independent in function proactive in supporting Indiana's PUBLIC schools.  Indiana's public school children, parents, teachers, and schools have taken huge hits over the past few years, and it is time for us to stand together to slow the tide of reform, stifle the stealing of PUBLIC education money to fund vouchers for for-profit private/charter schools, and to do so in a manner that is free flowing and transparent.  Hoosier Voices will continue to share the latest happenings in public education around the state and how each individual supporter can get involved to make a difference for Indiana's children.  In essence, Hoosier Voices for Public Education is NOT For Sale! 

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Legislative Lunchbox v. 10 - Special Edition

    "Do legislators deserve the same apples teachers get for their efforts in education? Every Friday, "The Hoosier Mom on Politics" makes that decision, giving two legislators a good or bad apple, depending on their support of Public Education and Indiana’s children. Check back every Friday at lunchtime to see what the Hoosier Mom packs in the Legislative Lunchbox for the week!

    For this post of the “Legislative Lunchbox”, I chose to pack a lunch for all the Senators based on their vote on HB1003 - the costly voucher expansion bill. The Senators on the left page with the red background are those who voted with Public Education and received a good apple. The Senators on the right page with the black background are those who voted against Public Education and received a bad apple. Do you see your Senator?

    The Hoosier Mom hopes that this pervasive mentality that we as a State need to reinvent the wheel via our Education System comes to stop with this session! HB 1003 seeks to outsource even more public taxpayer funds to private business - with virtually no accountability system or evidenced based data collection system to ensure quality. All of these changes come under the guise that "we the people" are responsible for subsidizing the 'choice' of a few. Absolutely, categorically - NO we are not responsible for subsidizing choice. Additionally, I argue that Government paying for private business directly opposes a free market philosophy.

    I am hoping the readers here want to know where this argument finds its roots.

    Milton Friedman, an American Economist and Statistician that taught at the University of Chicago with some of the greatest political and economic minds of the last century.

    Milton Friedman, the man who thinks greed should be an American value.

    Milton Friedman, who in 1962 wrote the book Capitalism and Freedom which put forth his personal agenda of education vouchers and elimination of professional licenses (medical profession specifically).

    Milton Friedman, who founded the The Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice (everyone, scroll to the very bottom of the website and see where the headquarters are located - yes, it says Indianapolis). Click here for their facebook page.

    Now, the Hoosier Mom studied Political Science primarily, but in returning to college as a single-mom and adult learner, I found a second passion in Economics. I believe one of the greatest elements of our nation is the marriage we have between politics and economics, between democracy and capitalism. This marriage has seen many ups and downs, but for many reasons this marriage seems to be a critical element not only for freedom but also success, both personally and for nation-states.

    There is a fine balance that must be achieved between the government's role in private business, and private business' role in the government. This isn't a perfect situation and continually evolves, but one thing I KNOW to be true and that I wish I had the opportunity to discuss with Milton Friedman himself, is this:

    As an advocate for a Free Market System, how can you justify expanding Government's role directly into the Private Education Business through subsidies?

    We must remember, the education business is NOT a monopoly. The fact of the matter is, many of these private schools were failing in the existing free market system. There are many private competitors and a robust private school industry already in existence - the Government's role is not to expand that on the backs of taxpayers. In the private business world - you either survive or you don't. Is there a need to remind our legislators how unpopular bailing out Wall Street was when Government neglected their true responsibility to the people?

    Here is something I would like the readers to consider and maybe you can help others consider as well....

    Are Private Schools too big to fail - is this a Private School Bail-Out?

    If so, by all means - lets continue on this voucher path. But, if you think Private Schools should survive in the free market on their own laurels, then we Hoosiers should re-build and improve our existing investment. Because we KNOW it works - "for the people and by the people" - that is Public Education.

    The Hoosier Mom hopes all the readers will spread the word about the Legislative Lunchbox. Feel free to email me with suggestions for next week’s lunch: for whom should I pack lunch and why?

    Wednesday, April 10, 2013


    The Greatest American Institution 

    "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, U.S. President, 1785

    Where is the gap in logic? As I sit here trying to figure out how to write this post, I keep wondering what the heck these Indiana legislators are thinking with their “reform” of our public education system. I mean, where are the dots not connecting here?

    If there is one Institution, one great idea that separates the US from the rest of the world, that has produced great leaders and scientists, artists and innovators, engineers and musicians - it is this idea that we take the education of the whole people upon ourselves. HB 1003 threatens to expand this notion that private institutions should benefit from public funding so that some – not all – have the ‘choice’ to attend the private institution. All the while this ‘choice’ is funded at the expense of our greatest institution, our public education system that actually educates the whole people.


    Our laws have to make sense and be able to withstand the test of reason. If this system of granting vouchers for 'choice' is good enough for public education, shouldn’t it be good enough for other institutions to be logical? For example:

    If vouchers are so great, Why don’t we start funneling money from Public Libraries to give it to Barnes and Noble? Or Christian Book Stores? After all, I am a taxpayer and I want compensated for my choice to purchase books at a bookstore instead of borrowing from a Library.

    Or better yet, I don’t want to take public transportation, it is my "choice" to buy a car...cant the Legislators funnel a certain dollar amount from public transportation so I can use it to fund my automobile "choice"?

    I will tell you why – because outsourcing public funds to private institutions is nothing more than Corporate Welfare. Whether it is Voucher funds to private schools, Book Stores, or Car Dealers, outsourcing public funds to private institutions will always be nothing more than Corporate Welfare. For as many people in the House and Senate who claim to be Capitalists, supportive of a free market system, there are an awful lot of these same legislators who seek to support these “capitalist free market” ventures with public funds. Last time I checked, that isn’t Capitalism.

    It is time for ALL Hoosiers to come together and say enough of this voucher nonsense. We don’t need to pay for someone else’s so-called ‘choice’ while our Greatest American Institution – that very institution that separates US from the rest of the world, is left to deteriorate and our children left with curriculum cuts, educator down-sizing, and program dismantling. This is the OPPOSITE of educating of our children - this is cronyism, nothing more,.

    It is time for the those downstate to put their petty power struggles aside and do what is right for THE PEOPLE – not some of the people, ALL of the PEOPLE.

    Tell them you want fully – funded PUBLIC Schools, not Corporate Welfare disguised as ‘reform’.


    Tuesday, April 9, 2013


    This is the Triple "T" Edition of Tuesday Tattler, as it is Tuesday Tattler TEN.  For this installment the tattler once again puts pressure on the Indiana Senate to VOTE NO on Voucher Expansion (HB 1003) and calls on public school advocates to focus on 10 specific Senators in making calls. 

    WE CAN STILL DEFEAT HB1003 in the Senate
    After passing two Senate committees last week, the voucher expansion bill (HB1003) did NOT come up for second reading Thursday. That means it has to get both second and third reading votes before the end of day this Wednesday.   Late this Monday afternoon, the senate began hearing amendments to HB 1003. Democrats offered one that would make a line-item for vouchers in the overall budget. This would allow for tracking the funding and also guarantee a certain amount for public education to have in its budget. This amendment was voted down by Republicans on a straight party line.
    Remember: vouchers come out of the budget for public schools first and THEN the remaing moneis are distributed to public schools. It is important that all Senators hear from passionate public school advocates in the next 24 hours.  Lobbyists have been contacting Senators one by one, and your messages will add urgency. If we can defeat this bill in the Senate, we don't have to worry about battling it again in the House.
    We most definitely CAN put an end to this fiasco that is robbing money from public schools and slow the destructive process current legislators seem hell bent on forcing onto our public schools.  For the most part, the overarching concern of those senators (all Republican) who are possibly waffling on this HB1003, is financial.  Remember that Senator Skinner of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee has said that they don't know and can't tell us just how much this bill will actually cost the public schools' budgets. How can they be fiscally responsible and support this?
    Below are your Tuesday Tattler "10" to contact immediately!

    Here is a list of some specific Senators to contact, along with reasons and rationale for making contact. Please make as many contacts as possible over the next few hours. It is vital that ALL senators hear the reasons why this bill is one of the most detrimental to PUBLIC education to come from the house so far. 
    1.) Senator Mishler (R) of District 9 (Marshall County and Kosciusko County) said that , although he agrees with "choice" he has some major reservations. He is in the area near Warsaw and in his area there are almost no schools that one can use vouchers for! If you know anyone in that area, please let them know that they need to contact him and let him know that they, too, have deep concerns. For most of these waffling Republicans, my understanding is that they are worried about the cost. During the Tax and Fiscal Policy committee, Mishler said he "reserves the right to vote against it on the floor. " Let's all encourage him to vote NO and let him know that this bleeding of funds will hurt the public schools in his district. His email is: s9@iga.in.gov.

    2.) Senator Zakas  (
    District 11) was first elected in 1982 and he may be a key vote. He is a Catholic and is probably getting a lot of pressure from Catholic school parents and schools. If you are Catholic or you know some Catholic school parents who don't believe in de-funding public schools, please try to contact him. Or if you know anyone in that area, of course. His email is : s11@iga.in.gov.

    3.) Senator Landske  (District 6) She was originally sworn into the Senate in 1984. ( Lake County, Newton County, and Benton County area).  Senator Landske has fiscal concerns about this bill and needs to hear from as many constituents as possible asking her to be fiscally responsible and VOTE NO.  Tell Sue that 1003 is bad for her community! Tri-Creek and other schools will only suffer from voucher expansion!!! Her email is s6@iga.in.gov

    4.) Senator Charbonneau (
    District 5) (Valpo and Rensselear area) has shown that he has serious reservations about the A-F grading system of our schools. Now the HB1003 includes an amendment that would allow anyone in an "F" school district to take a voucher. A Kindergartner within an "A" elementary school district but that also has an "F" high school, could go straight to a private one. Let's encourage him to see the misuse of this grading system in this bill and, of course, the financial ramifications of these millions of dollars leaving our public school budget. Let's Remind Ed what he said at the Legislative Breakfast about 1003/vouchers being an Indianapolis issue, not Northwest Indiana. Tell him we expect him to vote with Northwest Indiana, not be complacent with the party line! His email is s5@iga.in.gov

    5.) Senator Kenley (
    District 20, Hamilton County) had been wonderful at arguing against expanding these vouchers. His concerns are financial, but he also pointed out that they are doing a bait and switch type of thing by allowing wealthier families to receive these vouchers as well as not requiring so many kids to try the public schools first. He needs to be thanked for this and encouraged to vote against the bill. He has suggested that we have a study first to see how the vouchers are working for kids. Please encourage him to push for that before we expand the program. He also seems to be very concerned with the way special education will be hurt by this bill (see Vic's notes). His email is s20@iga.in.gov

    6.) Senator Steele (
    District 44, Bedford, Columbus, Nashville area: Brown Co., Lawrence Co, Jackson Co. and some Monroe Co.) was concerned during the first voucher bill with accountability of the private schools. He added an amendment that was about something like civics and morals being taught in those voucher schools requiring some accountability. That provision for accountability was promptly tossed aside by Tony Bennett and crew. They only have to observe 5% (13 total) schools and have a very vague review of what goes on. Accountability as well as financial cost might be a good argument for him. Please let your friends know. Here's his email: s44@iga.in.gov

    7.) Senator Bray, freshman senator whose family background does not support public education or fiscal education funding. District 37 (Morgan County and some Putnam. Martinsville) email: s37@iga.in.gov
    8.) Senator Crider, like Bray, is new to the senate (so they didn't vote for vouchers in 2011) He is District 28. (Greenfield). Email s28@iga.in.gov
    9. ) Senator Waltz, District 36 (Marion County and Norther Johnson County) In the Senate since 2004, he has an investment banking company, The Baron Group, Inc., which specializes in mergers, acquisitions, and capitalization of small to mid size private companies in the transportation and manufacturing industries.  This financial background should make him aware of the fiscal irresponsibility of VOUCHERS. His email is s36@iga.in.gov

    10.) Senator Leising, District 42 (Rushville, Connersville) a member of the Education and Career Development committee, she should most definitely be aware of the destructive nature of this fiscally irresponsible legislation. s42@iga.in.gov

    These senators should also hear from you with the financial concerns:

    Senator Alting, District 22. See map His email is s22@iga.in.gov

    Senator Becker, District 50 (Evansville area). Her email is s50@iga.in.gov

    Senator Boots , District 23 ( Crawfordsville and Lebanon area). His email s23@iga.in.gov

    Senator Head, District 18 His email s18@iga.in.gov

    Senator Paul, District 27 (Richmond area) His email is s27@iga.in.gov

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    CALL TO ACTION - NO to HB1003

    Tomorrow, April 8, 2013, your Indiana State Senate will take a vote on HB 1003 - Voucher Expansion. 


    It is time to show our legislators the power of 1.3 million voices.  We spoke up in November and sent Tony Bennett to Florida when WE elected Glenda Ritz.  We need to speak up again and tell our senators to once again VOTE NO on HB 1003. 

    Now is not the time to rob more money from our public schools in the form of vouchers for private school students.  We can not afford to continually take money from our PUBLIC schools to finance private parochial and charter school corporations.  We MUST stand up and be heard, loud and clear, once again.

    Contact your Senators TODAY and let them know that you will accept nothing but a NO vote on this funding fiasco they call voucher expansion.  HB 1003 is a nightmare to our public schools. 
    Click the Action button above to see what this bill does to PUBLIC schools.

    22 Indiana Senators (out of 50) voted NO two years ago on the voucher bill. 
    We need 26 to vote NO on the current voucher expansion bill!

    That's how many State Senators WE need to vote NO on current voucher expansion bill.

    26 Call them one-by-one and tell them to vote NO on HB 1003.
    Just because the State Supreme court ruled they were okay, what's the rush? Why ram this bill through that will strip public money from local schools in a time when there is already NO new money?

    If this bill passes, YOUR local school will be begging YOU for money in referendums, laying off more teachers, pushing 100's of fundraisers, cutting art/music and clubs, and reducing sports.
    WAIT!!!!! They already do that - so multiply this by 100 times!!!!!

    Vouchers aren't going anywhere. So, let's see if they work and how they can be funded without taking money from our already tight budgeted PUBLIC schools.

    Email your State Senator, and call them. Then have 3 people you know do the same! TODAY

    Click the image below to find contact information for your state senator.

    Below is a list of Senators who need a little extra "push" and a reminder of what 1.3 million voices sound like when speaking in unison about our mission.  Let them know that we EXPECT them to act fiscally responsible toward our PUBLIC schools.  They must vote NO on HB 1003 to stop funnelling public tax dollars from PUBLIC schools to for profit private and charter schools and their corporate sponsors.

    Banks, Jim - s017 - s17@iga.in.gov - R

    Bray, Rodric - s037 - s37@iga.in.gov - R

    Buck, Jim - s021 - s21@iga.in.gov - R

    Charbonneau, Ed - s005 - s5@iga.in.gov - R

    Kenley, Luke - s020 - s20@iga.in.gov - R

    Kruse, Dennis - s014 - s14@iga.in.gov - R

    Landske, Sue - s006 - s6@iga.in.gov - R

    Schneider, Scott - s030 - s30@iga.in.gov - R

    Walker, Greg - s041 - s41@iga.in.gov - R

    Waltz, Brent - s036 - s36@iga.in.gov - R

    Saturday, April 6, 2013

    Grassroots - Using Social Media to Move Mountains

    So, when I was asked to speak at the Occupy DOE 2.0 rally in Washington, D.C., I was surprised, honored, flattered, and horrified.  When I agreed to speak, I was excited and nervous that what I  had to say wouldn't matter much to those who would be listening.  As I outlined my rally "speech", I began to look back at what had been accomplished through our Indiana grassroots movement and saw that we have much to share with the nation about moving the mountains that stand to destroy our beloved PUBLIC schools.  I prepared myself to make the trip to the rally and speak on the DOE steps to motivate and inspire others to become the action necessary to begin to move others to stand up for PUBLIC education.  Unfortunately, as the time drew closer to venture to the rally, I found myself facing a schedule conflict. My wonderful partner decided we should surprise my 12 year old twins with a Spring Break trip to Florida. As much as I was prepared for DC, I most definitely had to choose family first.  So, while my Public education supporting friends and fellow rally speakers will be expressing their passionate views and amazing a difference for our PUBLIC schools, I will be sending my thoughts and energy across the miles in hopes that others become as passionate and emboldened by what they have to deliver to the crowds.  I wish to thank Peggy Robertson for thinking of me and inviting me to speak.  I thank all who will speak for their undying commitment to all of our children and our public education system.  Below, please read the text notes of the speech I would have delivered had I been able to stand on the DOE steps and speak to all who cared to hear.

    Grassroots - Using Social Media to Move Mountains

    Today, I stand before you as a veteran teacher with 20 years of classroom experience in PUBLIC education.  Yes, I am "only" a teacher, but I am a teacher who has a passion for PUBLIC education.  

    I often wonder how  one voice could multiply to thousands to make a difference.  I am not taking credit as that voice, but as one of the many voices seeking change.  I often wonder how I got to the point of becoming an "activist".  In reflection, I guess I have always been an "activist-in-waiting".
    So, I created a Facebook page in 2010 as way to vent my anger and frustration with the direction "reformers" were taking public education in Indiana.  I began to seek ideas and information for ending Tony Bennet's reign of terror as he shoved the reforms of Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush down the throats of Hoosier educators and public school children.  Soon others began to "like" the page to share their personal frustrations and their passion for PUBLIC education.  It was just a matter of time when others created pages along same lines to seek changes in the reforms and to push for our schools to be returned to the public.  Thus, a movement was born.  A movement that started at the base of grassroots and moved to play a surprising upset role in the 2012 Indiana general election.  Indiana's GOP stronghold received a huge blow when our grassroots effort produced upset Democratic winner Glenda Ritz, and defeated education reform's "golden boy".  the rest is history.  Glenda Ritz has taken over the Indiana DOE as Indiana's elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Tony Bennett has been relocated to Florida, where he is looking to continue his destructive ways on another state's public schools.

    So how do you turn one voice into a movement? The steps are easy, the process face paced, the stress level high, but the reward can be the ultimate in satisfaction.  Start with a clear purpose that is grounded in passion.  Keep yourself motivated by using that passion as the guide by which you pursue your goals.  Motivate others to take up the cause using their passion.  Then work together to continually motivate one another to push onward toward the goals.  Use the motivating factors of anger, frustration, fear, and excitement to grow involvement and dedication to the cause.  

    Focus on your goal at all times.  At times the goal will appear within reach, then it will seem to move further away.  Do not ever give up and think the mountain is too large.  You must focus on the effort to move the mountain and seek ways to turn the mountain back into a mole hill.  As you build your base and distribute information you need to view all information as valuable.  "Borrow" information from others who share the same goal.  Share information whenever and wherever you have the means and access.  Continue to work together.  Do not let the opponent trap you into arguing amongst other cause supporters.  Be factual and direct in delivery.  Know your audience and their level of passion and then adjust your content as the audience dictates.

    As you set out to establish your own social media "cause", there are important decisions to be made.  

    1.  Decide when to start and when to share pertinent information.
    2. Decide where you will share your information (your own page or others).
    3. Decide why you will share the information you will share (motivator).
    4. Decide how you will share the information (text, pictures, blog, etc.).

    Do not get caught up in trying to answer your critics.  Remain focused on your purpose and avoid arguing as you "stir the pot". You must embrace the fact that you are now an advocate for something.  You are becoming an activist for a cause.  Whatever that cause is, be willing to give your full effort and continue to see things through to completion, or to a change in mission to further carry your torch to the next mountain.

    Friends, fellow activists, we are at an important point in our history.  We have decided to no longer sit back and watch our elected officials and their corporate cronies dismantle our PUBLIC schools for private profit.  It is time to take your own grassroots campaign to the next level.  Join the social media revolution and use social media to move mountains for future generations.


    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Legislative Lunchbox v. 9

    "Do legislators deserve the same apples teachers get for their efforts in education? Every Friday, "The Hoosier Mom on Politics" makes that decision, giving two legislators a good or bad apple, depending on their support of Public Education and Indiana’s children. Check back every Friday at lunchtime to see what the Hoosier Mom packs in the Legislator Lunchbox for the week!

    For this post of the “Legislative Lunchbox”, I chose to pack a lunch for State Senator Sue Errington (D-Muncie) and, once again, for State Representative Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis).

    Sue Errington received a good apple today for her comments regarding Senate Bill 1 that would require armed personnel in every Indiana School. Errington's concern, not only for the hasty process in which this bill originated, but also for the "one-size fits all" mentality to School Security shows wisdom and foresight that is necessary to produce quality legislation. It is imperative to acknowledge that I and most other Hoosiers are exceptionally focused on the need for our PUBLIC schools to be a safe place for children and staff. Educational excellence can not be achieved if children, parents, teachers, and others are constantly fearful for their safety. A safe school environment is a learning school environment. With that in mind, there are two key points that Sue Errington knew instinctively about this bill:

    1. Armed School Security does not increase safety at all
    2. Armed School Security has the opposite effect on student's perceptions of feeling safe at school

    There is a robust body of peer-reviewed research-based evidence that supports these two key points. The National Association of School Psychologists compiled this body within a month of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in CT. Their report titled Research On School Security: Impact Of Security Measures On Students (click the report title to link directly) provides excellent information that our legislators should consider prior to increasing tax payer spending in vain. While the intention of increasing school security is noble, the method of adding armed guards in schools is short-sighted, wasteful, and counter to the intended results. Thank you Sue Errington for possessing the instinctual wisdom on this important issue and for your courage to stand-up for what is right for Hoosier kids.

    Once again, I have to pack a bad apple for Bob Behning. If this continues, I may personally visit the Statehouse to congratulate him on being the most ideologically obtuse Representative in Indiana. Mr. Behning - can you please begin to listen to reason starting with this post? The amendments added to SB 493 (a bill that would provide grant funding assistance for schools deemed in excellent standing by the Department of Education) threaten to kill the whole bill. From now until the end of this legislative session, I am calling these amendments the "Zombie Reform Amendments" as they already died a slow and unbecoming death in HB 1337. Why is it necessary to resurrect garbage legislation from the dead? I mean - do you just enjoy wasting everyone's time and energy - even more so - taxpayer resources? Or maybe you just aren't a very good listener? One of the things that most kid's learn in Kindergarten is how to get along with their peers. When your peers, your constituents, and Hoosiers as a whole are telling you "NO! We don't support this", you should listen and stop trying to ram this garbage legislation through. We actually WANT the Department of Education to make decisions on education standards and accountability  - not politicians. You need to stop this blatant power grab from the DOE just because you don't want to get along with the State Superintendent. Now, I know that you have to fill your campaign war chest and that A.L.E.C. has helped you out in that regard. But it is high-time for you to put aside your blatant political opportunism and do what is right for Hoosiers. Start listening please, and try to get along with your peers. I would prefer to never have to give you a bad apple again.

    The Hoosier Mom hopes all the readers will spread the word about the Legislative Lunchbox. Feel free to email me with suggestions for next week’s lunch: for whom should I pack lunch and why?

    Wednesday, April 3, 2013


    Spring Break is over and, as I journey back to Indiana from sunny Daytona Beach, Florida and review the week's political happenings so far, I write to remind all readers how we accomplished our goal in November and what we must do now to continue that success.

    We did not elect Glenda Ritz by sitting idly by and watching others take on the task alone.  Nor did we let our opponents go unnoticed for their attempts to destroy our PUBLIC schools.  No, we worked together to turn a grassroots campaign into a nationally historic election event.  It is now time for our legislators to be reminded of this accomplishment.  They continue to be hell bent on ignoring the voices of the voters and pushing through legislation to further destroy and deplete public schools across the state.  

    The passage of HB 1003 to the full senate is just one clear attempt by our elected officials to take more public tax money and fund their own pockets in the form of private and charter schools.  Do not be fooled one minute that they are simply doing this for those who "seek" to transfer from "failing" schools by assisting them through tuition support.  No, they are doing this to please their campaign contributors who make money from these private  and charter school ventures.  

    It is time for the full senate to hear from PUBLIC school supporters regarding HB 1003.  We MUST CALL and demand a NO vote on HB 1003 and put an end to voucher expansion once and for all.  Our elected officials need to be reminded NOW that we vote, and their seats are not safe when they are up for re-election if they continue to slash and deplete our public schools and rob from our children.

    Do not think that we stop here! PUBLIC school advocates must be aware that Representative Robert Behning, you remember the florist who is an education "expert", is back at it in House.  Common Core, A-F Revisions and Turnaround Operators are Back

    Yesterday, Chairman Behning brought an amendment to Senate Bill 493 revisiting several topics from earlier in the session. Senate Bill 493 is Senator Hershman’s bill to give grants to schools that achieve well on ISTEP. Now it includes several new provisions, including:

    · A State Board review of Common Core.
    · A fiscal cost assessment of Common Core.
    · Voiding the current A-F system, to be replaced by November 15, 2013.
    · Putting “A” through “F” school grades in law.
    · A thorough rewrite of the 1999 Public Law 221, changing the central goal from “improvement” to “performance.”
    · Allowing turnaround school operators who take over a school to expand to other grade levels “not currently provided by the school.”

    Many of these ideas came out of the failed House Bill 1337. HB 1337 was defeated as a result of PUBLIC school supporters being involved in the process and expressing concerns overnight Billy's contents.  As we see the negative effects of these provisions being  added to SB 493 by way of amendments by Behning, we must once again take the florist to task and shut him down.  Representative Behning is aware we are coming for his seat, heis trying all he can to push his agenda while he still has a chance to destroy our public schools.  Keep and eye on the battle looming over this bill.   It is worthy to note, while many of us want to see revisions in the A-F system, when Florist Behning was asked if State Superintendent Ritz had input into this A-F plan, he said she did not.

    Also in the House Education Committee, an amendment was added to SB 1 that would require an armed school protection officer in every public school in Indiana.  Notice was given by Rep. Sue Errington that this UNFUNDED mandate for an armed person doesn’t apply to private schools.  

     “If you believe this is the way to protect children, why not private schools as well as public schools – especially if they are taking public dollars?” she asked."

    According to the bill, a school protection officer would be required in each school and must be on the property during regular school hours and carry a loaded firearm. That person could be a teacher or other school employee who has volunteered and undergone additional training.  If no volunteers come forward,  districts then might have to hire someone, though there is no money in the bill to train employees or hire outside guards. 

    A few questions to ask yourself about this amendment and SB 1 ...
    1)  Do you want an armed "staff" person in your child's school building?
    2) How will schools fund the training and pay of an armed "staffer"?
    3) If this is important legislation, why is is good for our Public schools, but not for private schools who receive tuition support from our tax dollars intended to support public education.

    Spring Break is over! It is time to get back the momentum from November and raise our voices loud to make sure our PUBLIC schools come out with minimal destruction from this legislative session.  We must STOP HB 1003 in the Senate, and take a stand again when it comes to SB 493 in the House.