If any misinformed legislator or citizen held the mistaken belief that the intent of school takeover was to improve a struggling school then return it to the local governing board, such notion should now be laid to rest. We heard in Tony Bennetts recent state of education speech that poor-performing schools are systemic of poor-performing corporations, and should he win a second term, the superintendent intends to expand the Indiana Department of Educations power to allow for the takeover of whole corporations.
Two years ago legislators shared with what seemed to be paranoid public school advocates that there were no plans to take over schools, they were merely to be turned around. They also shared that if schools were to be taken over, it wouldnt affect their communities and constituents because they had good schools in their districts. We now know when a school is taken over by a for-profit consortium, the new entity is not only entitled to the real estate but the hardware, assets and historical artifacts within the building. Not only does the for- profit company get the trophy case, it gets the trophies as well.
I would question whether local communities really believe that an out-of-state for-profit group can come in and do a better job of educating their children. And should that happen, would they approve of their local property tax dollars that built their schools being funneled to groups that have no stake in their community other than the dollars that will line pockets as they take their profits back to their home state?
We now know, beyond doubt, that Bennett wants to see more takeovers even though the five that have already occurred have been riddled with problems and are, by any measurement, less than successful. Not only does he want to see more, he wants to accelerate the process, and now we know he has his eye on entire corporations for the profit-generating potential that can be directed to the very out-of-state business interest that has filled his campaign coffers to overflowing.
Now that we are clear on intentions, motivations and initiatives, the choice is clear. If one believes for- profit companies should take our tax dollars out of state as they laugh all the way to the bank, then vote for your man. But if you prefer local control and think it advantageous that your tax dollars stay within Indiana to educate kids, and that our schools belong to our communities and their stakeholders rather than to some hedge fund manager in a far-off land, then vote for Glenda Ritz on Nov. 6.