Monday, June 6, 2016

Mike Pence And The Big Fumble

Mike Pence had a chance, as Governor, to make a big difference in some young lives.  Unfortunately, after Superintendent of PUBLIC Instruction Glenda Ritz's Department Of Education spent over 600 hours working on federal Pre-K grant application, Pence decided (probably after realizing it wouldn't benefit his tea party buddies) not to submit the application.  This fumble cost Indiana children an $80M shot at Pre-K education.

Mike Pence has fumbled the ball many times during his term as Indiana Governor when it comes to PUBLIC education.  He has allowed his GOP cronies to write and pass legislation drastically reducing powers of the ELECTED Superintendent, Glenda Ritz.  He continues to support vouchers to take money from PUBLIC Schools, He touts charter schools even though they score far below traditional PUBLIC schools statewide, and he has released a campaign add featuring his educator wife that contains many false statements and myths. 

ISTA came out with a strong statement showing the Truth versus Myth of Mike Pence's Education record.  Here is the link to their article, "Truth versus Myth" - Mike Pence's education record.

One of the strongest comments regarding Mike Pence's record and his very misleading campaign ad was from an Indiana Educator named Ben Yoder.  Ben share the Pence Campaign ad along with his statement regarding the false and misleading information contained within.  Here is what Mr. Yoder had to say. . .

"The fact that Mike Pence would even dare to talk about what he has "done" for education in the state of Indiana is insulting to teachers, administrators and ESP...ECIALLY the students in this state. Let me pull this ad apart (which is easy to do), piece-by-piece:

1. Mike Pence was a part of starting the first Pre-K program in the state...that's true. But what he fails to mention is that he turned down a federal government grant for $80 million in additional funds to expand Pre-K all across the state. TURNED IT DOWN. The research into the advantages that kids receive from Pre-K education is pretty much indisputable. Mike Pence doesn't care about research. Mike Pence doesn't care about facts. Mike Pence simply doesn't want to be a GOP governor who takes money from the federal government for ANY REASON because he is an ideologue and a very poor executive branch leader.

2. Mike Pence has recommended an increase in public education funding. Yes. But, when you look at where that money is ACTUALLY going, you will see that the majority of that money goes towards expanding our already too-large school voucher program and charter schools. I'm not going to get into the politics of vouchers (I am against them) and charters (I am not against them when they function well) but his statement is extremely misleading.

3. "Our test scores are up." MIKE PENCE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT. This is a testament to our educators and our students.

4. "Our graduation rates are up." MIKE PENCE HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT. This is another testament to our educators and our students.

5. "Our students are really beginning to excel." Beginning to excel? Indiana student success really doesn't have anything to do with Mike Pence (or Karen Pence, for that matter).

6. "When you invest in education, you see results." We are seeing results, but they aren't in response to anything Mike Pence has done. Our educators all across this state are continuing to do their jobs despite the many, MANY obstacles that Mike Pence has placed in our way. Despite the fact that he called teachers idiots and then told us "not to take it personally" when the ISTEP results came out last year. Despite the fact that he cut a publicly elected official off at the knees who was charged with running our educational system in this state and put into office by a grassroots campaign comprised largely of teachers. Despite the fact that he has worked tirelessly to funnel money away from traditional public schools and into vouchers and charters that aren't working for our kids. Despite the fact that he has made the teaching profession in this state so undesirable that bright young minds are choosing NOT to be teachers simply because they don't want to put up with the bull$hit that comes along with it. The list goes on and on.

7. "Mike wants to keep doing what he can to make education the number one priority in Indiana." ......... Governor Pence, I don't want you to "take this personally" but the best thing you can do for education in the state of Indiana is to leave office.
Oh, and by the way...SHAME on Karen Pence too for appearing in this ad. As a former teacher, I'd think she'd know better.

Rant over."

After Mr. Yoder's "rant" made the rounds on Facebook. and ISTA posted their argument, and countless others questioned Pence's education agenda once again, Mike Pence announced this past week that he is NOW interested in seeking federal grant money for Pre-K funding.  NOW?  When there are NO grants available for application?  Surely, as Glenda Ritz points out in her recent statement, "Mike Pence must think that Hoosiers have the memory of a goldfish".

Hoosiers have a duty this election cycle.  It is our duty to VOTE in November and see to it that the GOP destruction of our PUBLIC education system does not continue.  There are many strong candidates out there this cycle who will challenge the GOP establishment to turn things around and put our PUBLIC schools back in a positive light.  Watch Hoosier Voices in the coming weeks as we begin to list our endorsements for State Representatives, State Senate, Governor, Superintendent, and more to reverse the destruction and return our schools to our children, parents, and educators.


  1. We need to get this into the newspapers and flyers or some other form that reaches the most people. As it is, too many people outside of education do not realize the damage Mike Pence has done, and they believe his campaign rhetoric that he is "keeping my head down and working for Indiana." His head needs to be down, as in hung low over his chest, for being such a poor steward of the people's best interests.

  2. Yes, we need this information to spread. We have shared with media and are hoping someone will pick up our stories if enough of our readers will share and push for more coverage of these types of issues.