Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Editorials

August 6, 2013

The hollow facade of Supt. Tony Bennett

There was a basketball gym-style scoreboard outside of then-Supt. Tony Bennett’s Statehouse office in July 2009.

A clock ticked off the time remaining in his term. The score showed Indiana’s high school graduation rate at 77.8 percent.

Bennett informed me that by the end of his term in 2012, Indiana would have a 90 percent graduation rate.

I found Bennett’s goals ambitious, even aggressive. His confidence was as audacious as NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders’.

Over the three decades of covering Indiana politics and public policy, the high school graduation rate had always been in that 70th percentile. Bennett was promising to reach the 90th percentile in just four short years, coming without any significant increase in school funding. While then-Gov. Mitch Daniels had side-stepped then-Speaker Pat Bauer’s aversion to education reform by seeking changes administratively from 2007 through 2010, the real thrust of the Daniels/Bennett change didn’t pass until April 2011.

It was then that the number of charter schools increased, the voucher program began, and there were mold-splitting reforms in school and teacher grading that included the “A through F” program, and the credentialing of principals and superintendents. Bennett had made other changes early in his term such as ending half days and teacher training changing to emphasize the topics they would teach.

Lo and behold, in 2011 the Indiana graduation rate officially stood at 86.61 percent, and in Bennett’s final year in office, at a stunning 88.38 percent. It was astonishingly close to Bennett’s goal.

If these results were too good to be true, when you mined down into other data related to public education, you could see problems in the metrics. In 2006, Indiana University noted that of the 92,624 freshmen entering the state’s higher education system in 2003-04, some 23.3 percent had to take remedial courses. Essentially, this means their prep training was below university standards.

Text Only
Editorials
  • Hoosier farmers are Indiana heroes Many in our community know that farming is not just a profession; it is a lifestyle. Agriculture in Indiana is a large and diverse industry that plays a vital role in the economic stability of our state. Many of our neighbors, friends and families ge

    April 3, 2014

  • Thanks for letting me tell your stories I didn't want to be a reporter, or even a writer, when I was a little girl. From the age of eight, I wanted to be an orthopedic surgeon. I never even considered being anything else. All my little girl fantasies of being an astronaut or a rock star we

    April 3, 2014

  • The empty chair and memories On the wall in our living room hangs a large painting that I bought at a small art show several years ago. It is a simple painting with rich, deep gold and burgundy oil colors that I enjoy. Just off center in this painting is a cozy, green arm chair

    November 26, 2013

  • Alzheimer's awareness brings passion for purple Dear Editor: Every October the country goes pink in support of breast cancer research. It's a beautiful sight. The underlying message is one of a vast network of support from family, friends, and total strangers. I would love to s

    September 10, 2013

  • March on Washington - then and now In 1960, I watched John Lewis and other black college students march past our Nashville, Tenn., high school on their trips downtown to the sit-ins. In 1963, while I was preparing for my senior year, Medgar Evers

    September 3, 2013

  • Bill follows 'safety first' ethos Article 1 of the Indiana Constitution says, "… all free governments are, and of right ought to be, founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and well-being." Very early in the Constitution, the founde

    September 3, 2013

  • Journalism's golden age meets its golden opportunity There's something reassuring about columnist Paul Greenberg's prophecy this week about a "new, wide-open, freer era of journalism." I always enjoy Greenberg's columns, particularly the ones where he signs off as "

    August 29, 2013

  • Racial equality today a mixed bag It's been 50 years since the historic March on Washington. The march -- remembered to this day in large part because of a moving and powerful speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. -- was a poignant and peaceful cal

    August 29, 2013

  • Festival time in Southeast Indiana As summer slowly fades into fall, it is festival time once again in Southeast Indiana. No matter where you live in District 67, there is no shortage of opportunities to enjoy food and fellowship with friends and neighbors. Tree Cit

    August 20, 2013

  • A bipartisan push toward U.S. tax reform The U.S. jobless rate is 7.4 percent. Here in Indiana, it stands at 8.4 percent. This is so utterly unacceptable that our lawmakers at both levels ought to be considering everything in order to stimulate the econo

    August 20, 2013

Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.