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Learning Curve

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A panel with promise

State Superintendent Tony Bennett has named 15 Indiana teachers to an advisory panel, the Indiana Education Reform Cabinet.

"The IERC was created to provide classroom teachers a recognized forum for asking questions and providing thoughtful feedback on the state's newest education initiatives. Meetings will cover topics such as Indiana's Growth Model, Rule Revisions for Educator Preparation and Accountability (REPA), Common Core State Standards, the Learning Connection, teacher and principal evaluation processes, and legislative efforts," according to a news release from the Indiana Department of Education.

If the panel members are truly allowed to give honest feedback on issues affecting students and classroom teachers, it's a promising development. If the cabinet's role is simply to rubber-stamp DOE's initiatives, however, it will be a waste of time for all.

It's ironic that the news release cites the REPA revision because that process is a perfect example of how the state charged ahead with its agenda, ignoring the professionals involved and creating much more strife than was necessary.

Here are members of the cabinet:

Tina Ahlgren

Indianapolis Public Schools

Thomas Carr Howe Community High School

Rosann Campbell

Rockville Community School Corporation

Rockville Jr-Sr High School

Traci Davis

Gary Community School Corporation

Daniel Webster Elementary

Jennifer Eberly

Goshen Community Schools

Goshen High School

Jacinda Gates

Randolph Central School Corporation

Baker Elementary

Dennis Gentry

MSD Steuben County

Angola High School

Tajharjha Gibson

Monroe County Community School Corporation

Bloomington High School North

Deborah Hartz

Teaching coach, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation

Scott Hawkins

Greater Clark County Schools

Jeffersonville High School

Jeremy Hill

Richmond Community Schools

Richmond High School

Jim Larson

Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School

Kim Patterson

Eastern Howard School Corporation

Eastern Jr. & Sr. High School

Karen Smith

MSD Wayne Township

Garden City Elementary

Jenny Tyner

Wabash City Schools

O J Neighbours Elementary

Daniel J. VandeBunte

MSD of Boone Township

Hebron High School

Karen Francisco, editorial page editor for The Journal Gazette, has been an Indiana journalist since 1981. She writes frequently about education for The Journal Gazette opinion pages and here, where she looks at the business, politics and science of learning as it relates to northeast Indiana, the state and the nation. She can be reached at 260-461-8206 or by e-mail at