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Indiana’s “Race to the Top” is Over

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett told me this morning that the state is ending its pursuit for “Race to the Top”  funds.  “Race to the Top” is a federal program that provides up to $4 billion for states that implement reforms in their education system.

Bennett says there was not enough support from the Indiana Teachers Unions for the state to take a second shot at the funds.   Lack of  union support was the one of the original reasons Indiana lost out on the first round of  “Race to the Top” funds.

Bennett told me this morning he made an offer to the Unions to meet him next Tuesday to work out a deal, however they turned him down.

Had Indiana been a “Race to the Top” participant, it would have received hundreds of millions of dollars for education.   Bennett says, for him,  Race to the Top was more about reforming schools than money.

However, I can’t help but think of the irony in all this that the teachers unions whine and complain about more money for schools and as soon as they get  an opportunity to get more money they turn it down.  Hmmm, it must be that whole accountability thing again.

  • joneaster

    I don't understand why people gripe and complain about a “government takeover” of health care, but they are letting Tony Bennett and Mitch Daniels get away with the “government takeover” of education. From day one, Bennett has had a “my way or the highway” attitude and has been less than respectful to professional educators.

  • John Howard

    I would never let you parallel park my car. You probably can't distinguish inches from feet from yards.

  • Dave

    The problem with public “education” is not, a shortage of programs or adult daycare facilities (“administration” offices).

  • pascal

    Indiana “teacher” unions have long been public enemies and conspirators against the public interest. When a rat is cornered you get to see it's teeth. These parasites have fastened on government schools and refuse to be embarrassed by their less than adequate performance. “Professionals”? Even the Star's Tully has tumbled to fact that great numbers of IPS schools have more than half their employees (hardly professionals) lazy, incompetent, non performers.
    We need not say anything about good teachers other than the example above is that their financial welfare is being sacrificed to the dregs of their profession-their talents subsidize the public enemies, and that if you defend one incompetent teacher you defend every one of the incompetent parasites.
    Any chance the prosecution of the ISTA alleged crooks could be moved forward any faster? More public scrutiny of ISTA would be a good thing so that the respect in which they are held could be broadcast to a wider public. How about the civil suits against the conspirators?
    And, Jon, government schools have already been taken over by the government with results that are plain to see. Education and the State, available from your Liberty Press, will acquaint you with the lie upon which government schools were founded (I think E.G. West was the author). When you count all of the costs of government schools it is hard for a reasonable person to think that they should be continued for the same reasons, too, that Mises gives in Socialism.

  • seanshepard

    Accountability? Or not letting a political opponent actually be successful at accomplishing something? Another reason why government needs to get out of the education business, it becomes more about politics than results.

  • Think Again

    Abdul: did you think for one minute, to pick up the phone, and call either of the two statewide teachere unions, and ask their side of this?

    If you did, please print their responses.

    If not, why don't you just sign up as a mouthpiece for Bennett?

    There are two sides to every story. If I were the unions, I'd have sat at any table that might bring money and prestige to public schools. But I'm sure they have their reasons. Bennett has a checkered history as a district school superitnendent whose schools were, well…not always “well-performing.”

    Maybe there's a healthy mistrust. Both sides need to get rid of it, but bashing the teachers without hearing their side is hardly fair.

    This sounds more and more like the neocons getting their jollies by bashing public ed, one of their favorite pastimes. Some of the bashing is deserved, but in football, there's a penalty for piling on. Bennett long ago exceeded his lifetime PO penalty allotment.

  • AJ

    Unions have done more harm to our schoolchidren — and Indiana is far from the worst (look at LA, NYC or ObamaLand/Chicago) — than any organization ever. More money does not lead to improvements in schools; it just leads to more ways to waste it. Schools with the lowest funds often do the best. Kansas City got billions 20 years ago and built fish tanks, took int'l trips, bought laptops, and their scores and successes went down. It's good to see the Unions are corrupt left-wing political organizations looking out for themselves and not the children. Our children deserve better. I applaud Daniels and Bennett for trying but the Unions are resistant to change, accontability and improvement. They only care about themselves — like any good socialist group.

  • agman

    Saying anything in defense of teacher's organization here would be like shouting into a gale force wind. IF you had been there done that situation through the last 50 years you might have a better understanding that all has not been to the bad side of “government education”. I doubt that there is any organization —business, religion, etc. that could not be critized for “unproductive” actions and positions. Again, nice thing is it is an acceptable thing in this country to bash about everything with or without merit.

  • pascal

    There is no “other side”. Postulating that there is is one of the flaws of journalism whose practicioneers generally are unable to distinguish that fact. It is in the interests of newspapers to slant the news and to give you the impression that truth is obscure, hence, you need a seeing eye dolt, aka journalist, to guide you daily.
    Stating that Mr. Bennett was in charge of schools that were not well performing says exactly nothing. No Superintendent in Indiana can claim with straight face that “his” schools were well performing. It is like an overseer of Soviet Collective Farms bragging that he did not have import as much wheat as the other overseer so as to feed the people.
    And, it would be interesting to see you back up assertations that “his” schools were not performing. Any chance you could find anything at all besides your unsubstanted opinion concerning that….you know like even the Tully articles on IPS?
    Agman is correct. We have allowed at least 50 years of failures. I had schools who ranked (use the ranking mechanism, TA, of ISTEP) in the bottom 5% of Indiana schools their whole existance an still they rank there. Wasn't even good day care. But, contra Agman, no private sector enterprise runs red ink for 50 years. And, truly, it is not bashing to point out a 50 year lack of performance, 50 years of steadily increasing costs with NO IMPROVEMENT AT ALL.
    Teacher Unions are Public Enemies. That they conspire against the public interest should be clear to even the most dense. The only thing good about this particular instance of their duplicity is that we won't have Uncle Stupid borrowing more money from China to flush down Indiana drains.

  • Nick

    This is Bennett's choice not to even apply for hundreds of millions in grants.

    He has surrendered, quit, lost, and failed.

    This is the noose around his neck till the next election.

    He still has time to correct this terrible mistake if he is smart.

  • agman

    Just a few comments —which understand will be turned like a pig on a spit —teachers and their organizations have never set the policy of a local corporation or the state regardless of their input; teachers have never voted on the local or state budget; teachers have never set the laws and rules of the state or federal, etc. Yes, teachers have had input and even financially backed lobby and candidate situations but the Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau, and a few hundred other organizations were right there also. Public education in this country is far different than from most other countries and it is not in achievement and cost as some would yell–where else is it required that every person is entitled to free education and schools are mandated to do whatever is required even it the student is totally handicapped and unable to do even the most basic academic activities (that is, where one teacher is assigned to one student situation).
    Several posters are so anti “public education” it would be great to put them in total charge of a school and sit back and watch their performance. Remembering they have to accept every student (and their parents/guardians) and work with their students at the level they are and take them to the high achievement levels they proport to say can be achieved (every student).

  • varangianguard

    pascals are “Public Enemies” to democracies.

    Just as valid as anything you said previously, pascal (or should I say Julius Streicher wannabe?).

  • Taxpayer 834512

    “Professional” educators permit seniority to trump performance in a city where we're lucky to graduate half the kids downtown? “Professional” educators look the other way while American parenting and immigration standards descend into the mud, as long as precious headcount” numbers stay high? “Professional” educators do nothing while school boards become rubber stamps for administration and to hell with fiscal transparency for taxpayers? Given all of this, how “respectful” is Tony Bennett suppossed to be? How much worse could it be if we dealt with “Unprofessional” educators?

    I dearly thank God or whoever's in charge for the fine job some of the “Professional” educators have done in teaching my children. It is very hard to find finer people than some of them. But, our “Professional” educators need to take of their ideological blinders and see that there are hard choices ahead in limited dollars. If they want to help fix the wagon, by speaking-up on some of the issues above- great! Otherwise, I don't blame a fixed wagon for leaving our “Professional” educators behind. With a few noble exceptions, as choices have become tougher, it appears our “Professional” educators want to keep playing politics.

    Does it EVER become just the issue and not politics for “Professional” educators?

  • Nick

    Couldn't be worse timing for Tony to unilaterally withdraw from Race to the Top competition on the same day State Budget Director Chris Ruhl sends him a memo to expect even more budget cuts.

  • agman

    Just a thought: for those opposed to “teacher unions” wonder what their opinion is of such groups as: regular labor unions, lawyer associations, AMA, Accountant organizations, Indiana Sheriff's Association (and similar police groups), Political parties, Farm Bureau, Corn Producers Association, Chamber of Commerce, Indiana School Boards Association, AARP,etc. etc. etc. These all exist as organizations that support education of their membership, support actions/causes/activities (including lobbying) that support their positions which are often self interest oriented. I will admit that was an active member in ISTA and NEA and other education oriented organization and while supporting much of why they existed I like a member of many other organizations did/do not support each and every activity. It is totally an over board statement to say ISTA exists or even has as a goal the protection of incompetent personnel but they will stand up and fight for a person whose rights have been violated and where inadequate evaluations have laid no basis for disciplinary action And show the organization that does not promote ideas such as long term involvement. As have stated before talk to any old time teacher who was under the township trustee system of political appointment of teachers, or a system that had a policy of firing teachers after a few years of experience so they could hire “cheaper” ones or where any teacher who dared “question” the administration (policy or mandate) was dismissed “without any reason needed to be given.” Yes, job protection (or protection of interest (any organization) is part of the package.)
    And as to Mr. Bennett–check with teachers and administrators in his schools or schools close. Respect is earned not bestowed.

  • Caroline

    I am sure you are a smart, well educated individual. However, if you are going to act like a seventh grade girl who is defending her BFF (Bennett) against those mean girls (ISTA) I think you need to be upfront and honest about your motives and intentions.
    You are BFF's with Bennett…I get that. You want to defend him….I get that. Just say that you are going to side with your BFF no matter what. You don't have to omit part of the story or twist facts to do that. Even though you are anti-union, I think it's important to note that most teachers, union and non-union, do not support Tony Bennett's bullying tactics. Even if the ISTA did not exist Tony Bennett would still not have the support of the majority of the teachers in this state, partly due to his faulty ideas but mostly due to his less than professional behavior and attitude. And no, I am not a teacher and no I am not a union member. I am a parent who values teachers and the public education system. Feel free to share this with your BFF at the slumber party tonight.

  • jan1970

    the reason the two representatives didn't show up is that they weren't invited! besides – tony b said he wanted their signatures before they got to see the plan – no one in their right mind would sign something they weren't allowed to read first. tony b's reason? he didn't want any other states to “copy” his plan -seriously, who's the idiot? it's definitely not the big bad terrible unions. abdull – educate YOURSELF before throwing insults -especially when they're unfounded. at least you don't have many followers.

  • The Monday Wall Street Journal(WSJ) article quotes the ISTA spokesperson (was he indicted or not?) saying differently. Besides, isn't the ISTA now a wholly owned subsidiary of the NEA? It would not be the first time the financial interests of Indiana workers were sacrificed in the interests of national conspiracies.
    While the news columns of the WSJ are uniformily liberal and thus bad, one might trust them with direct quotes? Speaking of Mr. Bennett, one Nate Schnellenberger said, “He's been disingenous and demeaning. We are willing to discuss meaningful reforms, but we won't participate in a circus”. My guess is that the challenge from Bennett to the conspirators to meet in a public summit was the deal killer.
    As it is, Delaware and Tennesee gobbled up $600,000,000.00 to overhaul their outmoded schools with the latter State's legislature meeting several times in special sessions to do the public's work. The Indiana legislators, dullards that they are, don't seem to have accomplished anything at all even though the carrot left has a $2,800,000,000.00 piece remaining (all borrowed from China).
    Meanwhile, it is good that we have a prevailing wind from the SW that blows the stench of Indiana government schools away.

  • Oh, and that stench began long before Mr. Bennett even had a super's license and long before the people of Indiana decided that he might be a good person to reform what was causing the stench.
    It is amazing that old farts can bring up the sins of township government as it applied to ancient schools when lots of people are wishing to reform township government even though the schools performed much better back when the evil townships were in charge.
    Government schools are political schools. period. The evidence is that folks like Arne Duncan, Paul Vallas, the NYC schools, ALL improved when politicians are put back in charge of political schools. I think the Peterson courage with Charter Schools (also government schools are they) is about the only improvement we see in IPS other than some candor from Super White about the scums in his workforce cemented in place by ISTA.

  • agman

    My, my–a lot of bitterness out there. And, all so well informed they leave no room for saying anything against their points. One would wonder why everyone can not see the wisdom of their words and simply roll over in the face such overwhelmingly convincing commentary. Guess I simply could not add anything worthy of consideration to such clear and reasonable thoughts. I give in to more worthy thinking.

  • pascal

    When you count all of the costs of schools that fail for decades it isn't bitterness to point out that a reform of same is long overdue even if the prying of parasites from the public tit is one of the hard jobs. EG West makes the case that there never was any need at all for government schools.
    Given that utopia I suppose the ISTA would still be around as fifth wheels are always as needed as are con men. Teacher “rights” as expressed in Indiana law are “spoils” and part of the conspiracy against the public that makes ISTA a public enemy. The Indiana Constitution is seeking consumer goods for children that benefit the State. The means of achieving them are defective.
    Hiring of teachers based on political allegience and promotion of same on the same basis still exists in SPADES. The flaw was not the township trustees then, it, the flaw, was government schools.

  • http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/ The then necessary dishonesty pervades school administrations as well since they also live in the swamp of lies.