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Bennett's Indiana Dept. of Education Showing Fierce Urgency

We should never be satisfied with incremental gains – Dr. Tony Bennett

Last week, Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, came to talk to the Hancock County Young Republicans group.  We didn’t know what to expect in terms of the crowd (half expected some angry teachers to show up), but we knew what to expect in terms of discussion.

He led off my talking about a student he met at an event named William Zhao.  William, 17, had written a book called Fierce Urgency: Education and Future Global Competition in the Eyes of a Young Chinese Immigrant.  William wrote about how schools in China take education more seriously than in the United States.  He elaborated by explaining that Chinese schools tell their students every day that they are educating them so that they can take the American students place in our nations top colleges.  He went on talking about how there needs to be a “fierce urgency” in Americans schools to get our students to catch up with their international brethren.  The ISTEP results released yesterday showed just that and the aggressive education reform agenda Dr. Bennett has brought to the IDOE.

Results show 81 percent of public schools increased the percentage of students passing both the English/language arts and Mathematics portions of the ISTEP+. The assessment resulted in statewide pass rates of 74 percent in English/language arts, 76 percent in Mathematics, 67 percent in Science and 65 percent in Social Studies.

Even Indiana’s largest public school district, Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) showed improvement:

“We’re pleased that we improved at every grade level over last year,” IPS Superintendent Eugene White said in a statement. “We will build on this and with the hard work and commitment from our teachers in the classroom, we’re going to continue to work on improving instruction.”

While IPS’ gains lagged behind the rest of the state, improvement is improvement and that’s not something that should be taken away from the students and teachers of IPS.

What strikes me as interesting is that liberals, like Pat Bauer, ISTA (Indiana State Teachers Association) and the state Democrats chastised Governor Daniels when he said that he was going to have to flatline or slightly cut education to make sure that Indiana didn’t go into the red.  Democrats pounded Daniels and Bennett and the unions through hissy fits.  To quote a tweet from Abdul Hakim-Shabazz “Let’s see. Test scores are up and schools had less money to work with? Things that make you go hmmm.”

(Cross posted to Hoosier Access)

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