The Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett is finding himself at the center of controversy over education reform.
These days, Bennett seems to spend much of his time traveling around the state campaigning on behalf of his model of education reform. He says the group of bills will improve teacher accountability, diversify school choice and streamline education funding.
“There are under performing charter schools,” said Bennett. “There are under performing traditional public schools. Frankly speaking, I want to hold both accountable.”
Recently, he has come under fire from Democratic legislators for his connections to a number of pieces of legislation… including a bill that would eliminate pay incentives for teachers who obtain advanced degrees.
“The Superintendent of Public Instruction. By the way, isn’t that,” said Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson. “We should report him to the Better Business Bureau for poor advertising.”
Treasurer of the Indiana State Teachers Association, Kathy Parks said, “What’s great working conditions for our professional educators are great learning conditions for our students.”
“There’s no classical research especially current research that correlates masters degrees in education and beyond and years of experience with teacher effectiveness,” said Bennett.
Another proposed measure would limit teachers collective bargaining rights.
“I think as we have evaluated collective bargaining agreements throughout the state, we see far to many clauses in those collective bargaining agreements that shackle the hands of great school leadership,” said Bennett.
With Democratic legislators still absent from the Statehouse, it remains to be seen which legislative agenda will ultimately become state law.