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Sound foundation for school progress

Today's editorial recalls where Indiana school improvement came from -- and it looks nothing like today's Statehouse:

Students, teachers, administrators and parents deserve credit for the achievement, which comes not from the criticism, threats and budget cuts heaped on them by public-school critics, but from years of hard work. Public Law 221 was adopted in 1999, when a refreshingly bipartisan tone marked the state's education discussions. Democratic Gov. Frank O'Bannon and GOP Superintendent of Public Instruction Suellen Reed were co-chairs of an effective and responsive Indiana Education Roundtable, and the legislature's leaders were Republican Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton and Democratic House Speaker John Gregg.

Indiana's school accountability law preceded the federal No Child Left Behind law by more than two years, arguably setting the state's public schools on a path to improvement with the support and participation of teachers, the business community, higher education representatives, parent groups and more.

It's disingenuous to suggest today's school improvements happened without the strong, bipartisan foundation set more than a decade ago.

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.

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