Indiana GOP Party Chairman Eric Holcomb on education reform

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Statement from Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb:

Statement from Indiana Republican Party Chairman Eric Holcomb on education reform

(Indianapolis, February 8, 2011) – “As the Indiana General Assembly considers an education reform agenda that would identify and reward our great teachers and principals, give local school leaders the flexibility they need to turn around failing schools and finally give parents a choice in the quality of education their children deserve, it’s disappointing that union leaders continue to defend the status quo.

“It is both factual and unacceptable that in Indiana, twenty-five thousand students drop out every year, another twenty-five thousand are trapped in chronically failing schools, and tens of thousands of students fail to meet the basic standards of the I-STEP+ examination in math and English. For too long, the wealthiest and most powerful union in the state has opposed change that puts students first. The Indiana State Teachers Association spends millions of dollars year after year in political campaigns and rallies like the one today in an effort to defend policies that treat ineffective teachers no differently than outstanding teachers and base tenure and salary decisions not on a teacher’s ability in the classroom, but on the number of years they’ve been teaching. The hundreds of professional educators lobbying at the Statehouse today represent hundreds not in the classroom.”

A study released today by Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation & Education Policy found that 58 percent of Hoosiers believe “teacher compensation should be based on students’ improvement on standardized tests” while about 75 percent believe student achievement should be among the factors considered in teacher compensation.

Holcomb added, “It’s beyond time to start supporting students by making sure great teachers are in every classroom not the special interests that seek to thwart reform.”

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  1. I’m a high school math teacher, a life long Republican, who really doesn’t understand why you don’t understand the parents of the drop outs and poor performing students are the problem. Who can be expected to teach students who stay up too late, are sent to school without breakfast, etc? I work very hard all day long and put in many hours at home grading and planning, yet I am told I am not doing enough and I’m failing our students. Have you ever tried teaching students who don’t care and have parents that don’t value education? I find you attitude insulting, but I love teaching even knowing I could make lots more money elsewhere. I’ve always considered my wonderful health benefits to be part of my salary, which considering all my degrees is very low. Now I find out you want to mandate I have the state insurance, which is inferior to what I now have!! Who do you figure will ever want to go into education with all the new proposed mandates? If you want to put students first you will put teachers first, we are a dedicated group of people who already put students first. We work hard everyday and are quite tired of the state trying to “reform” education. If you really wanted to reform education, you would come up with laws to help teachers and talk with teachers who are on the educational “front” every day.

  2. One more thing, the main problem we have at my high school is students are promoted to high school after failing all their middle school classes. It’s hard to teach algebra to students who don’t know their times tables and can’t do fractions! We need some way to make middle school more important and not just three years to do nothing. These are the students who are our future dropouts. Your “solutions” don’t address the real problems, it just shows your lack of understanding of the problems.

  3. Eric Holcomb is a product of public education. While he denigrates the organization that the public school teachers have chosen to represent their interests, his party has cut school funding by 600 million over the last two years. So they have bargained a system of pay that rewards service. Shouldn’t we want teachers to make this a career while constantly striving to be better at their job and more productive in the classroom? My kids go to a beautiful facility one block away from my house, and have had extremely dedicated teachers every year for six years. The high school that they are preparing for is called Bloomington South, carrying the name of our community with pride because our community is fighting to support our school. As a fellow graduate of Pike class of 86 as you, I would like to understand why you would create a set of proposals that are designed to funnel money away from public education. Do you remember that our class has produced a great number of doctors, political state chairs, the president of Penske Racing, one of Indianapolis’ most accomplished musicians in Matt Roush, as well as a great number business leaders and well published biologists from what was frankly a small graduating class. Your plan flat lines there funding for two more years and then starts funneling money away to private schools that don’t have to follow the same rules as public schools and educate everyone. When you start to undermine a free public education in our state you are on the road to undermining our democracy. If you are successful, I recommend that you avoid coming back to Pike High School, as I suspect those elitist school teachers as your governor is fond of referring to them, will not make you welcome.


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