You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Learning Curve

  • Death knell for teacher unions?
    A California judge's ruling in a lawsuit challenging teacher tenure has anti-union forces (including Obama's secretary of education) crowing, but their celebration could be short-lived. An appeal is almost certain in the Vergara case and teacher
  • In defense of Indiana's effective teachers
    Stand for Children, a political advocacy group closely aligned with education privatization efforts, issued a report Tuesday critical of Indiana's teacher evaluation models.
  • Indiana: Still in the preschool cellar
    The annual survey of state-funded preschool programs laments the decline in state support during the past year. Even the states trimming pre-K investment, however, outperform Indiana, one of just 10 states that have yet to invest in early learning.
Advertisement

Paranoid? Not at all

Imagine if a public school district announced it was opening a new school, not based on overcrowded classrooms or outdated facilities, but simply because it wanted to offer a school with a different theme.

Then imagine if the school board contracted with an out-of-state company to buy, renovate and lease a building to house the school. The long-term contract would allow for automatic inflation increases in six-figure annual lease payments.

Then imagine that company officials began boasting about their attractive returns on investment in public schools.

Would there be outrage? You bet.

Now imagine that instead of a local school district, the public entity was a charter school. Would there be the same outrage over accountability for public dollars?

Apparently not. The cost of Imagine Schools properties in Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, owned by Entertainment Properties Trust, have aroused not a single word of protest from any elected official, including those who routinely gripe about public-school spending. Either they don't understand that taxpayers are picking up the bill or they don't want to criticize charter schools in any way.

Incredibly, Entertainment Properties Trust's name has surfaced once again in Fort Wayne, this time in connection with the proposed Thurgood Marshall Academy. Surely, some elected official could start to connect the dots here.

Dave Bangert, columnist and opinion page editor at the Lafayette Journal & Courier, commented on school reform money-making opportunities in this column. I think he's too harsh in suggesting that Ed Eiler, superintendent of Lafayette School Corp., is paranoid over attacks on traditional public schools.

After all, sometimes they really are out to get you.

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 kfrancisco@jg.net.

Advertisement