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?

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