My local paper recently published an opinion piece criticizing virtually all recent education reform efforts, including those by the Bush, Obama, Daniels and Pence administrations. The piece was naively rich with irony.The writer, a 37-year veteran of teaching, argues for an end to reforms (which is, of course, yet another reform). What she wishes, it appears, is for the teaching profession to be in charge of schooling and for elected officials to steer clear.One irony is that she teaches in Blackford County, a place of historically dismal educational conditions mirroring large swaths of Mississippi. The current educational attainment in the county is a half-century behind the United States as a whole, so it is actually good news that the county’s standard of living has advanced to that of the average American in 1984.The lengthy population decline means residents have been voting with their feet against the status quo for five decades. Worse, until the recent Indiana reforms, Blackford County schools persistently ranked as low-achieving and low-growth.But there is good news laced with irony: After the reforms, the system moved into the high-achieving, high-growth status. Few places in Indiana have benefited more from the Daniels/Bennett reforms than Blackford County.That a teacher in that district would now seek to end these reforms tells us much about her priorities and judgment.The second great irony is the target of the criticisms. When we see the Daniels, Obama, Bush and Pence administrations agree on the need for educational reforms, we must take notice. The United States ranks at the top in educational attainment for elementary-age kids. We then slip to last place by the time these kids get to high school.This tells us that at least one part of the problem lies in schools (and teacher education). It also rightfully scares anyone with an inkling of the economic disaster this foretells for the nation.What separates the two parties on education reform is simply that the courage to act lies largely with the GOP.Indiana remains on the leading edge of school reforms. These changes have clearly been difficult to implement, but the plain fact is that when it comes to educational achievement metrics, our state ranks from dismal to undistinguished. We desperately needed school reform, and should hope that the General Assembly, governor and superintendent of public instruction strengthen and improve it.Michael Hicks is director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State University.
When it comes to educational achievement, state ranks from dismal to undistinguished
Letter to the Editor: April 17, 2014
On March 20 of this year I attended a public meeting of the Tipton County Economic Development Alliance. Members of this group include the three county commissioners, a member of the county council, two members from the city council, and the mayor.
Hicks: Measuring the unmeasurable
One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things that humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives it such dominance over other social sciences.
House of Burgess: Bush presents 'The Art of Leadership'
On April 5, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opened at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The display, which runs through June 3, boasts “portraits of more than two dozen world leaders” painted by Bush, according to the official literature.
Bohanon: ‘Economics is fun’ in Vegas or in Bible study
I am writing this on an airplane to Las Vegas. I’ll be attending the annual conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education along with two of my colleagues and six of my students.
Letters to the Editor: April 16, 2014
At the time the agenda for the April 7 commissioner meeting came out, I was happy to see that the neglected commissioner board appointments were finally going to be addressed. These appointments had been in limbo for months on end.
Hayden: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids
The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards.
That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation data were released last week.
Letters to the Editor: April 15, 2014
In a recent “public eye” article written by KT columnist Scott Smith about the proposed industrial wind turbine project; mention was made of the “new deal” brokered by Howard County Commissioners with E.ON.
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- Letter to the Editor: April 17, 2014