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Chad Ryan | The Journal Gazette
Gov. Mike Pence, left, listens as Renetta Williams of Health Visions of Fort Wayne comments on the state's position on the Affordable Health Care for All Act during a town hall meeting on Wednesday at the Allen County Library.

Pence seeks more autonomy for Hoosiers

FORT WAYNE – Gov. Mike Pence talked about doing things “the Indiana way” during his first town-hall meeting as the state’s chief executive.

Pence in Fort Wayne on Wednesday said that means giving Hoosiers greater authority over education, health care and other federally regulated programs and grants.

The first-year Republican governor rejected audience suggestions to scale back or eliminate standardized testing for school students. But he said Indiana officials and lawmakers can reshape the standards to meet the state’s needs.

“I think our testing, our assessments, our curriculum should be written by Hoosiers for Hoosiers,” Pence told about 100 people in a meeting room at the downtown Allen County Public Library.

He said greater emphasis should be placed on improvements demonstrated by students, teachers and schools.

“We ought to be evaluating schools and teachers not just on the basis of how many are achieving the level that they are supposed to achieve, but how much progress have schools made based on where they started,” said Pence, whose wife, Karen, is a teacher.

“Because the schools in some of our larger cities’ inner cities start at a different place in the fourth grade than the schools in some of our rural areas … do,” he said. “And measuring growth I think ought to be factored into the way we assign those grades.”

Pence drew applause when he said: “I believe education is a state and local function. My view of Washington, D.C., on education is resources, not red tape.”

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