Our comments section has been buzzing after Glenda Ritz’s electoral victory over state superintendent Tony Bennett. We decided to highlight some of the most compelling comments here in the latest installment of our occasional series, Mailbag.
I guess Pence didn’t get the message that the people of Indiana want input into their schools and not be told what they are going to do by someone who has so much “outside money” in his pocket. Blame the teachers union all you want, but where then did the 1,000,000 crossover votes come from that weren’t in the union, from angry parents who didn’t get heard. Wake up Gov. Pence, the people of Indiana want this agenda stopped.
From A teacher:
While I certainly did not prefer Bennett’s methods or his communication style, I beg to differ that this upset was just about him. It was a definite and resounding rejection of the “reformist” policies pushed by the current administration, and the idea that corporations should have more voice in government just because they have deep pockets! Governor-elect Pence will be committing political suicide if he doesn’t wise up to that.
I am a teacher and I welcome the reform that Bennett has pushed!! I want to be held accountable for my performance. Someone needed to do something and he did it. Our failing schools are a result of a union that keeps bad teachers in positions that they should be fired from and terrible administration in positions where they continue to fail. At least there has been change at the schools that were at risk of being taken over. I cannot believe that this lady got elected. I just hope that she cannot undo what Tony has done. Principals should be held accountable and they should be able to hold teachers accountable.
My school got a good grade this year from Bennett’s A-F grading scale, but it was at a horrendous cost. Over the last three years, 3 teachers in my building had suicidal thoughts; I can’t count how many were on anti-depression medication (at least 5 that I know about). Another was unable to sleep unless he/she left the lights on. Two others had heart palpitations. Two more had shortness of breath. One teacher was known to be a social drinker only on the weekends; this teacher later admitted that he/she was drinking regularly during the week. And these are only the teachers I KNOW about… I am hoping Glenda Ritz can dismantle some of the more punitive and unfair features of Dr. Bennett’s agenda. Some of us teachers are barely hanging on because of the many “reforms” still in place.
From A parent:
It’s amazes me how professionals in other fields can be held accountable for their performance but not teachers. The system was failing before Bennett came in and attempted reform. We’re going back? Not good for the children of this state.
From School Librarian:
Educators and their supporters have indicated that the current “school reform” trends are unacceptable. I believe that had the public truly listened and gotten involved a year and a half ago when teachers sounded the alarm, the legislature would look different on this post-election day. But the response came too late for broader change this time. So Ritz’s grass roots campaign will need to continue to grow and be a visible, loud force as Indiana moves forward with its efforts to improve education in the state.
Dr. Bennett believes that “holding everyone accountable” is the right policy. I couldn’t agree more except that not everyone is held accountable: teachers and schools are held accountable. When do the students, parents, and communities get to share in the responsibility?
From One happy teacher!:
Tony Bennett has teachers working under fear of poor ratings, many of which include factors that are out of their control. Effective lesson plans with creativity are being replaced by rigid indicators that often do not fit the styles of teaching that have made them so effective. Administrators are running ragged with all of the evaluations they have to do, and it takes away from areas where their leadership and guidance are needed. He believes schools should be run like a business; which they should NOT. I’m thankful that someone who understands an effective educational process has claimed this office!
I think the most telling information is the his decline in the doughnut counties. Some assumed that he lost big in urban areas due to a “fear” of accountability in poor-performing school districts. The numbers show that he actually lost support in some of the state’s highest-performing school districts. This wasn’t a case of “lazy teachers” resenting a superintendent that was threatening their jobs — these are parents and teachers in Carmel and Hamilton Southeastern and Zionsville and Brownsburg and Greenwood in “A-rated” schools rising up and letting the state know that they don’t like the direction Bennett was taking THEIR schools, either. If you’re all just really bored and looking for something to do over there at StateImpact, it would be interesting to see THIS map somehow combined with school ranking data… ;-)