In three public hearings across the state and in written comments
submitted to the Department of Education, Indiana educators spoke loudly and clearly to
show displeasure with proposed changes to teacher licensing standards.
Was Gov. Mitch Daniels or his hand-picked state Superintendent Tony
Bennett listening? Clearly not.
After this week's Indianapolis hearing, in which critics of the plan
reportedly outnumbered supporters by a 2-to-1 margin, Daniels told
reporters there was no time to waste in moving ahead with the plan.
Bennett, obviously carrying the water for the governor, echoed Daniels'
It's three years before Bennnett will face voters again, but I wonder
if this novice politician understands what he's done. I haven't seen
the education community this unhappy with an elected official since I
watched J. Roberts Dailey, the late Indiana House speaker, tossed out of
office in his 1986 re-election bid. In that case, it was the Indiana
State Teachers Association that engineered his defeat.
ISTA is critical of the REPA proposal, but it's also drawn fire from
the state's schools of education, the early childhood education crowd
and numerous professional educators organizations -- groups that don't
generally make much noise in state government.
Daniels is a lame duck, so he has nothing to lose in taking aim at
the public education establishment he so clearly disdains.
But Bennett, whose political career is just beginning, ought to
wonder if he hasn't awakened a sleeping giant.