Vic’s Statehouse Notes #371 – Partisan School Boards
Breaking long Hoosier traditions, Senate Bill 188 would change school boards from non-partisan to partisan. It’s time to contact Senators before the bill is heard on Monday to express your strong opposition to this damaging change to our public schools.
Making school boards partisan is a bad idea. It would further divide our state into partisan camps and create partisan controversies and ill-will in the boards running public schools that serve all children.
This proposal comes from the same Republican party that in 2017 and again in 2019 passed bills to appoint rather than elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, an elective office for 166 years, saying at the time that politics should be taken out of K-12 education.
How quickly they forget.
What bad consequences would this change bring?
Share these concerns with legislators:
- Changing to partisan school boards will make a bad teacher shortage even worse. This change will be so repulsive to many non-partisan teachers that it could be their last straw to consider leaving the state or the profession. Teachers in training are deciding whether to stay in Indiana or to teach in surrounding states. Knowing that public schools are run by partisan school boards will discourage young teachers from beginning their career in Indiana.
- Many highly qualified school board candidates would run in a non-partisan election but would not get involved if they have to run in a partisan election as members of a party.
- Political bosses who are not on the school board could control school board actions when school board members know that they owe their board seat to party politicians.
- Party slates would soon become part of every election, allowing state and local political bosses to control who gets to run for school board.
- The partisan majority on the school board would soon establish a partisan test for selecting a superintendent.
- A partisan superintendent may set up partisan tests for hiring administrative staff members or even teachers in the district.
- Since the legislature voted eight years ago to remove the requirement that superintendents must earn a superintendent’s license, a politically partisan school board could hire any politically connected individual to be the superintendent, whether or not they were qualified based on knowledge of schools.
- A regular dose of partisan arguments in local school board meetings will soon sour local communities on the very concept of public education.
- A change to partisan school boards would allow the party in power to control school board reactions to legislation in the General Assembly as the supermajority year by year brings bills which lead to their ultimate goal of universal vouchers: to end public education and educate all students in a marketplace of private schools.
- This proposal reverts to our history prior to the 1959 school consolidation reform law when some township trustees who ran the schools used political tests for hiring teachers.
Who Should You Contact by Monday, January 30, 2023 at
9 AM in room 233?
The Senate Elections Committee will hear Senate Bill 188 on Monday. If you can testify in person on this bill, please do so.
If you can’t testify, contact members of the Senate Elections Committee to let them know that the current law on non-partisan school boards is the best policy and should be maintained. More partisanship is the wrong way to go for our K-12 students.
The committee members are:
Sen. John Crane
Sen. Stacey Donato
Sen. J.D. Ford
Sen. Jon Ford
Sen. Andrea Hunley
Sen. Tyler Johnson
Sen. Linda Rogers
Sen. Greg Walker
Sen. Michael Young
If you can’t come in person, you can copy this list of their e-mail addresses and paste them into the “TO” field of your email:
Senator.Crane@iga.in.gov; Senator.Donato@iga.in.gov;Senator.firstname.lastname@example.org; Senator.Ford@iga.in.gov; Senator.Hunley@iga.in.gov; Senator.Johnson@iga.in.gov;
Senator.Rogers@iga.in.gov; Senator.Greg.Walker@iga.in.gov; Senator.Young@iga.in.gov
Thank you for your active support of public education in Indiana!
Vic Smith email@example.com
Vic’s Statehouse Notes and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!
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