A legislative panel examining the Indiana Department of Education gets another chance to ask about the departments overreaching approach to school reform today.
At its first meeting last month, however, the Select Commission on Education allowed Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett to limit questions with a lengthy and detailed presentation on the student growth model and the A-F grading system for schools. One observer likened it to football strategy: If your defense is leaky, try to keep your offense on the field.
The commission is made up of all members of the House and Senate education committees. They generally are not a passive group, but they gave the Department of Education a pass last time. Only Democratic Sen. Tim Skinner pushed department officials, asking how much was being spent on testing.
Bennett appears to be prepared to use a similar stalling tactic today, with a scheduled presentation on the school turnaround program presented by him and three other department officials.
The Indiana Charter School Board, the statewide panel established by the General Assembly to authorize charter schools, will meet today to consider 16 applications.
Among the applicants is Keith Birkhold, who wants to open a bilingual academy on the former Taylor University campus in Fort Wayne this fall. Birkhold has unsuccessfully sought charter approval from Ball State University, but his application could fare better with the state board.
At a public hearing earlier this month, board representatives heard only negative comments about the Sun Academy proposal.
Fort Wayne resident Jamie Garwood is a member of the state charter board and also serves as director of planning and program research for the Fort Wayne Urban League, which is sponsoring the Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy. It also is set to open this fall.
Leaders in two Allen County school districts will participate in a U.S. Department of Education labor-management conference this week in Cincinnati.
Fort Wayne Community Schools and East Allen County Schools were among just three districts invited to participate, along with Ohios Oregon-Davis School Corp. The districts will be represented by their respective superintendents, school board presidents and teachers union presidents.
Across the country, there are remarkable success stories shaping the next generation of teaching, said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a news release. The goal of this years conference is to help (educators) learn from one another and take this work to the next level.
City Council members are expected to vote Tuesday on an amendment to the citys drug-house law that would expand coverage to businesses as well as residences. The city might be able to use the law to evict retailers that sell synthetic marijuana and other drugs.
The expansion sounds like a common-sense move – but council members might well best serve the public by slowing this one down and considering possible unintended consequences.
For example: What if state excise officers, in the process of checking identifications of bar patrons, come across drugs? Will the bars landlord be ordered to evict the bar? And the ordinance also covers prostitution and gambling. Some bars have relatively harmless number drawings each week that might well be a violation of gambling law. Would they be subject to eviction?
The city would most likely benefit from the ordinance. But this new law governing businesses was discussed only once, at last weeks council meeting, and council members should at least consider giving the public more time to offer feedback.
Also at Tuesdays meeting, the council will invite comments from the public about the proposed new council districts.
Indiana congressman and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence is expected to announce his choice for lieutenant governor today. He is running against Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham in the November election. Gregg has until June 8 to choose his running mate, and Boneham has already revealed Brad Klopfenstein as his choice.