Goshen News, Goshen, IN

August 14, 2013

State leaders shouldn’t ignore the change we demanded

— Parents and community members did not ask for a grading system of schools. As a mother of four children, I don’t care about a letter grade that can be manipulated by politicians and that only really reflects children’s socioeconomic background. I evaluate my children’s school by how excited they are to get there and how much they are developing in their social skills as well as their academic abilities.

Gov. Mike Pence and his appointed state board of education are determined to continue this labeling of our kid’s learning communities. Fine. Let’s grade these schools on whether or not they have enough money for staffing smaller class sizes. Do they have art, music, P.E. and librarians? Do the teachers have professional development and an education background? Are there nurses, social workers and guidance counselors? These are the things that we want for our children.

Thanks to (former superintendent for public instruction) Tony Bennett, the governor and the (Republican) supermajority in the Statehouse, many of our schools are getting low grades by these measures. Vouchers bleed our schools of funding. Tests suck money, time and joy out of education. They are ignoring the message we gave Bennett last fall: We want change. In 2014, let’s have more.

— Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer

Bloomington, Ind.