The Journal Gazette
Sunday, February 21, 2021 1:00 am

Letters to the editor

Former state superintendents united in their opposition to voucher expansion bills

In support of the 94% of Indiana students who attend public schools, we strongly oppose House Bill 1005, Senate Bill 412 and Senate Bill 413.

Education Scholarship Accounts will divert adequate and equitable funding from public school students and open the door to unacceptable practices. Hoosiers all lose when children are not well educated and public tax dollars are not accounted for responsibly.

In Indiana communities, public schools have been and will continue to be the hub for vital services supporting the well-being of the whole child. Passing HB 1005, SB 412 or SB 413 would divert significant money away from public schools, enhance the opportunity for a lack of oversight related to the intended educational purpose of such funds, further exacerbate insufficiencies tied to Indiana's teacher compensation, and increase the risk to student growth, proficiency and well-being.

Indiana's most vulnerable youth and families deserve a per-pupil funding level that promotes adequate and equitable funding. Unfortunately, the language of HB 1005 gives advantages to families with high incomes and adds disadvantages for our most vulnerable by shifting risks. HB 1005, if passed, will defeat the spirit of the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act and run counter to the initial rhetoric behind Indiana's school choice.

Even with the amendment, HB 1005 would result in 94% of Indiana's students receiving less than the tuition support increase of $377 million over two years that Gov. Eric Holcomb proposed.

Teacher compensation, support staff pay, COVID-19 academic and operational-related costs, student support service demands, constantly changing graduation and accountability requirements, and K-12 workforce development efforts certainly deserve the funding necessary to serve Hoosier students.

We firmly oppose HB 1005, SB 412 and SB 413. We firmly support the adequate and equitable funding of our Indiana's public schools representing 94% of Hoosier students and families.

Suellen Reed Goddard

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction


Glenda Ritz

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction


Jennifer McCormick

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction


Gun licensing essential oversight

I came across information on House Bill 1369. It would remove the necessity for gun owners in the state to apply for, have background checks for or receive licenses to own and carry guns.

I am appalled to hear such a proposal. For crying out loud, Indiana recently considered not licensing hairdressers, but wisely kept the current status. That safeguards people's health in a simple, sensible way.

No one would think it wise to do away with testing and licensing drivers of automobiles, trucks or campers, let alone school buses, semi trucks and heavy machinery. Vehicles and their drivers occasionally cause injury and death despite regulations and safety measures in place, including the requirement that drivers be tested and licensed.

But to allow anyone to own a gun without licensing and the concomitant background check? Insane, unwise, poorly conceived, dangerous – I have an entire thesaurus of words to shout down the mere idea.

I thought we wanted people to move into Indiana. Certainly, unregulated guns would move parents, teachers, maybe police officers and domestic violence counselors, not to mention doctors, nurses and other health care workers to run screaming away from Indiana.

I oppose this bill in the strongest possible terms. I am counting on our representatives to do the same.

Further, I urge my fellow Hoosiers to speak up. Take my words (please!) or compose your own letter or email. Make a phone call. Our state reps need to hear us loud and clear on this issue.

Kathleen A. Clemmer

Fort Wayne

Senate whiffed on chance to get impeachment right

Senators got a ridiculous pass after they had a chance the first time to rid themselves of the most loathsome and unfit man ever to hold the most powerful job on earth. Twice impeached.

Their conscience and backbone are on vivid and worldwide display. Their re-election hangs in the balance after they failed to convict this clown.

Jeff Hamilton


Republicans now own Trump's seditionist legacy

The House impeachment team presented evidence sufficient to impeach former President Donald Trump. In the process, maybe unwittingly, they handed the Republican Party a golden opportunity to regain its moral credibility by voting for impeachment.

A vote for impeachment would have removed Trump from his party leadership role, would have cast the militant extremist element from the party and would have reconciled any moral scruples that the community of faith may have harbored regarding Trump's behavior. But most importantly an impeachment vote would have provided them with a legitimate claim to ending the political divide with a clear act of bipartisanship.

Possible explanations for missing the opportunity would be that the GOP lacked the intelligence to recognize it as such or that they actually felt that an assault incited by the president to overturn the results of an election was not an impeachable offense or that they have no intention of ever reaching a bipartisan consensus.

Yet another more frightening possibility could be that the GOP has become the party of Trump with militant right wingers, a morally comprised community of faith, climate change dismissers, science skeptics and conspiracy theory proponents as its base.

In any case, the failure to impeach confirms the reality that Trumpism has the official endorsement of the Republican Party.

Chester Baran

Fort Wayne

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