Daniels shifts aim to education reform | 2011-01-08 | Indianapolis Business Journal | IBJ.com
On Indiana's declining incomes.
"But per-person incomes—despite everything Daniels has tried on job creation, road building, property tax reform and daylight-saving time—have only fallen further behind the national average.
In 2004, when Daniels berated his opponent, Gov. Joe Kernan, for Indiana’s sluggish economy, Hoosiers earned 91 cents for every dollar earned by the average American. By last year, it was just 86 cents.
Adjusted for Indiana’s lower cost of living, Hoosier incomes have fallen from 98 cents for every dollar Americans earn, to 95 cents.
Daniels is quick to point out that declining incomes have been a problem in Indiana for decades. State economists have been writing about it since the 1980s."
I do a lot of troubleshooting in my job on computer hardware and software, and in my life repairing my own cars, motorcycles, appliances etc. One thing I've learned is that when you're diagnosing a problem you should look at the last thing that was changed/adjusted/fixed on the item prior to the problem, pretty early in the troubleshooting process. Quite often, the last thing that's changed is related to the current problem. Mitch needs to step back and take a "what's changed" look at the Indiana declining income problem.
The article says Indiana (and i think US) incomes have been declining every year since the 1980's. So what changed it that era? The biggest changes I can remember were Reagan tax reductions and our governments shift to a belief in trickle-down economics? Since then, wealth has piled up in the hands of the rich while normal worker incomes have stagnated. Do you think maybe there could be a connection Mitch?
"Daniels and Bennett want to require schools to consider students’ year-to-year growth on test scores as a “significant factor” in evaluating and paying schoolteachers and principals."
I don't see testing helping much. Basically, you get what you pay for. If you're going to base educators pay on test results, you'll end up with schools spending their dollars teaching kids how to take the test and shorting the rest of the education process.
The kids will be given practice test after practice test with a lot of coaching and memorization. The kids and educators will be bored and the ability of our kids to think for themselves will diminished.
"They also want to expand options for parents to send their kids to publicly funded charter schools or even to receive publicly funded vouchers to pay tuition at private schools."
I'm not sure about private school vouchers? They seem like a path to two separate, not-equal education systems with the rich kids and anyone that can afford to pay in the good private system and everyone else in an even more crappy public system.
It may hurt public school funding as it will be harder to convince private-school people to fund the public system with taxes.
As I think about it, it seems like a downward-spiral that would eventually lead to our current college-type system where the rich can afford it, the poor are subsidized and the middle class are squeezed even tighter.
"Daniels also wants to let high schoolers graduate in three years and then receive a college scholarship equivalent to the amount the state would have spent to put them through a fourth year of high school. Right now, the state spends more than $11,000 per student per year"
This doesn't seem like a bad idea.