Bennett Wants Ability To Take Over Entire School Districts

If a number of schools in a single district fail, Bennett says the state’s takeover model may be expandable.

Bennett

Photo: Department of Education

Indiana state superintendent Tony Bennett.

State superintendent Tony Bennett says he wants to see the General Assembly address school reform on a broader, district-wide level. And Bennett wants that discussion to take place as soon as possible.

Bennett says it’s not in the state’s best interest to operate schools – he says those are best run locally. But he says if schools repeatedly fail, local control shouldn’t be used as an excuse for the state not to act.

If a number of schools in a single district fail, Bennett says the state’s takeover model may be expandable.

“I think that is a discussion I hope the General Assembly has in 2013 is how we address systemic failure of districts,” he says.

Bennett says his department is already grading districts the way individual schools are assigned letter grades. House Education committee chairman Bob Behning (R-Indianapolis) says state takeover of entire school districts is an avenue worth exploring.

“The problem isn’t necessarily the schools we’re taking over,” he says. “What happens is, they get to those schools and they fail because they haven’t gotten the proper training beforehand.”

Behning says while passing legislation might not be possible next session, he hopes the issue will make its way onto discussion calendars.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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