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Letters to the editor

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 12:01 am

Stalling school reform is not a good option

After the settlement of the Chicago teachers’ strike, Time Magazine commented that “Public education is to education as public housing is to housing … but they do give rent vouchers.”

So Cabrini Green is gone, but the failed Chicago public schools are still in business with charter schools as the only alternative. The Indiana Legislature, on the other hand, has passed a significant slate of reforms, which includes vouchers.

But as you said in your recent editorial, those will take time to work and may not survive teachers’ union lawsuits.

Incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has also used PL 221 to finally put pressure on at least some chronically underperforming schools, resulting in more immediate improvement in urban districts like FWCS.

His ambition to actually tackle the problem head-on with a top-down approach has left some collateral damage at the IDE and in urban districts. While that’s unavoidable, the process has earned him the undying enmity of Indiana teachers’ unions.

Bennett’s Democratic opponent in the Nov. 6 election is a schoolteacher pledged to improving education “from the bottom up,” which is doublespeak for stalling reform. Organizations can’t be fixed from the bottom up. The “bottom” will resist change, which they perceive to be against their interest.

If we’re serious about closing the achievement gap and getting all minorities into the economic mainstream, stalling school reform is not an option.

Kids and their parents don’t sue to stop vouchers or buy Democratic politicians at all levels of government to preserve the status quo. Teachers’ unions do that. Keep that in mind if you vote on Nov. 6.

Evert Mol

Bayh regrets vote; so should Joe Donnelly

Indiana was badly served by Sen. Evan Bayh and by Joe Donnelly. Both try to portray themselves as moderate Democrats. Both say that they vote their conscience. Both failed their constituents, their home state and their country. Now the Wall Street Journal reveals that Bayh has regrets for his health care vote.

No one could escape the stench of partisan politics that resulted in corrupt vote-buying in the Senate, the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives,declaring that the Obamacare bill did not need to return to the House for a roll call vote after being altered by the Senate in the most partisan manner.

This procedural necessity was a senseless act concocted to assure that no Democratic member of Congress would return home to face the voters before the bill was passed.

So, the bill was presumed accepted in the House of Representatives without so much as a reading that would have revealed the backroom deal-making and chicanery.

Neither Bayh nor Donnelly had the courage to buck the Democratic machine of Obama, Reid and Pelosi.

While Bayh has always been a liberal, he was a moderate and frequently rose to the level of a statesman with important votes.

Bayh had pangs of conscience immediately and determined he would leave the U.S. Senate and now tries to express his regrets and admits that bipartisan deal-making would have resulted in a better bill.

Donnelly voted for the mess every time it came up for a vote, even caving into the president on the issue of government-funded abortion, and to better express his devotion to the liberal agenda, he voted against the repeal even knowing that the most unpopular entitlement in history was even more reviled back home in Indiana.

Donnelly is damaged goods. He sold out his conscience. He is no statesman, never will be and does not deserve to serve in the U.S. Senate.

Hoosiers deserve better.

Dave McKeeman

Libya was more than just a bump in road

President Obama says our Mideastern policy is doing well except for an occasional “bump in the road,” like the recent violence in Libya when the ambassador and three other Americans were killed.

The British saw it coming and pulled their ambassador out. The Salvation Army saw it coming and pulled out. We Americans didn’t see the same and pulled out some of our security personnel. I am glad I am not one of his bumpkins.

Paul Reszel