Yesterday we thought it was absolutely disgraceful that the DOE would make last-minute changes on Friday to the rules regarding teacher licensing and education (REPA2) to be voted only a few days later...on Wednesday. Dr. Vic Smith noted that that was a ridiculously short amount of time to review those changes and get feedback. They already had feedback in the summer at the public meeting on June 21st. Thirty people spoke up and all of them opposed the new rules. They supposedly revised these rules over the past five months and didn't announce the changes until a few days before the vote. (see Karen Francisco's post in the Journal Gazette). Now we find that they have moved the public comments for after the vote tomorrow.
There is a great problem with our democracy here in Indiana. It seems that these people in power, our governor Mitch Daniels, state superintendent Tony Bennett, and many of the board members are unwilling to accept that we still live in a democracy and are unwilling to participate. Tony Bennett lost. Soundly. I thought Tony Bennett was a basketball coach? Isn't part of good sportsmanship the ability to accept defeat graciously? Not for Bennett. Not only are they going to pass REPA2, ignoring the fact that the voters have clearly called for a change in direction or, at minimum, a "time out" until Glenda Ritz assumes her leadership position, but they are going to ignore the electorate in general. Their mailboxes are full of dissent from the voters who do not want to see these changes occur in teacher quality. The experts in education have weighed in against REPA2. Add to that the fact that now they are not even going to listen to the public comments until AFTER THEY HAVE VOTED. Is this democracy?
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism" is accredited to Thomas Jefferson. Well, these would-be "reformers" (privatizers of public education) disagree.
In every way, through these sneaky tactics of asserting power or by the very fact that they would attack public education and try to turn it into a private, for-profit venture, they keep proving that they don't believe in a democracy. We need to hold their feet to the fire. Let the board members know how you feel about this unwillingness to listen to the people. Let Senator Long (a big GOP figure who apparently holds a lot of influence: Senator.Long@iga.in.gov) know that you disagree with REPA2 and want the board to table it until the new superintendent takes office. Speak up. If at all possible, please come tomorrow to the REPA2 vote and show your support for our children, teachers.. and democracy.