Thursday, April 21, 2011

Now Indiana Limits Collective Bargaining

Republican Governor Mitch Daniels
I'm not sure when Governor Mitch Daniels (R) declared war on teachers and education, but it's not a pretty war. It's very ugly, in fact. In an article released in the Courier-Journal, it came to light just how much Mitch Daniels hates teachers, despite his decisions being lauded as putting "students first by giving local school leaders the freedom to run local schools." The man quoted saying as much, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett went on to say "Today our students won the right to attend schools focused purely on meeting their needs and securing their academic success.”

Along with limiting collective bargaining for teachers, custodians, bus drivers and school nurses, Daniels also put into motion plans for using tax payer dollars to pay for private education and tying teacher pay to student achievement. Oh, and he wants more charter schools, too. I don't think I need to waste my typing reminding you of my feelings on charter schools and teacher pay relating to student achievement. But what about the voucher program? Honestly, if you want to send your children to private school, that is your prerogative. There's nothing wrong with private school. I graduated from one. But it's a choice for people who have the means to do so. I'd love to be a stay at home mother, but it's not in the cards financially. I'd love a bigger house, but we don't have the money right now. I'd like a brand new car! Guess what I can't afford.

Children have the right to a free, public education. Rather than robbing public schools of students with parents that care, those same parents came help their local public schools become places they want to be. We're all in this together, schools and parents. The sooner we realize that, the better we'll be. Education can't be run like a retail establishment. In business, there's always a loser. Applying business-style choice to schools makes losers out of the children. So no, today, students in Indiana didn't win anything. They lost and they lost big.

The alienation of teachers willing to work in the public system will discourage good, hard working teachers from their jobs. In jobs that have been traditionally female, such as teaching and other occupations like nursing, there's this stigma of being "just" a teacher, "just" a nurse or "just" a whatever. What is being gained by this? Why is it happening? What will happen when we eventually chase all of the dedicated professionals away? There was a time when teachers were fired when they got married or fell pregnant. There was a time when teachers could no longer work once they were "showing" during their pregnancy. These are things that are not covered under wages or benefits, the only things teachers can collectively bargain for in Indiana.

What about class size? Benefits of smaller class sizes is not a myth. In decreasing my student load, students get more individual attention. When the union isn't there to regulate class sizes, what can a teacher do? What about classroom budgets? Those aren't apart of wages or benefits. What if I suddenly had to buy even more of my classroom supplies than I already have to?

Teachers and students are the only losers in this new legislation. The actual future of Indiana is losing. What teachers would want to move to this state? Who would want to stay if given the choice to leave? Who is going to be left to pick up the pieces that are left? I don't know, Mitch Daniels. I guess it's a good thing you don't have to count on my vote, nor will you ever have to since I'd never move to Indiana.


  1. Dan Quayle came from Indiana. Need I say more? That state is a wasteland. Of course, I am from Illinois, so I have nothing to brag about. But, I'm just sayin'...

    Once again, a good read. Keep it up!

  2. Thank you for a very well-written piece. Last year Governor Daniels cut $300 million from the Ed. budget. This spring, he put back $150 million, and that got more press than the amount he cut. He gets to look like a good guy. I'm a teacher in Indiana, and he is destroying education just as you've descrbed. He's being helped by a Republican majority in both houses of the state legislature as well. Keep up the good work with your blog; I will pass it along to my colleagues in education.


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