Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Letters to the Editor

August 30, 2013

READER POINT OF VIEW: What if Tony Bennett was right?

What if Tony Bennett was right and the Associated Press got it wrong? You may start preparing yourself for the possibility.

Reading the emails of public officials is great fun, considering the reaction from Tom LoBianco’s Associated Press story about the 2012 development of Indiana’s A-F grading system under former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.

LoBianco based his story on a very small number of emails between Bennett and his staff, of which I was a part in 2009 and early 2010. (Full disclosure: LoBianco apparently requested my emails, too.)

People are finally starting to question the completeness of a story based on a handful of emails, out of what must be tens of thousands, because a narrow selection of emails does not provide anything resembling an appropriate level of context for a story this complicated.

If you read the AP story, you are led to believe Bennett changed the letter grade a school from a “C” to an “A” because the school’s founder is a donor to Republicans.

Missing from this absurd, and false, contention is the fact that the emails came during the initial creation of the A-F grading system. What difference does that make? During this time, the Department of Education was working with schools to ensure the grading system was fair and accurate, had provided schools with preliminary letter grades and asked schools to help identify problems with the new system.

Bennett’s concern was well founded, because the initial formula penalized schools for not graduating any seniors. This school, and a few other new or growing schools, didn’t have any seniors to graduate. Adjusting the formula to avoid punishing these schools was something Bennett had the authority to do, and was unquestionably the appropriate action.

But none of that was in the AP story.

Which brings us to an important question. How did the AP acquire these emails in the first place?

The AP stories indicate the emails came through public records requests. But how did the reporter know which records to request? Is this distinguished journalism or just the by-product of old school political leaking?

When an open government advocate asked the Glenda Ritz administration for copies of both the AP’s records request and the emails provided to the AP reporter on which the story was based, he was first told that such records did not exist. When pressed, three days later Ritz’s attorney suddenly found the AP’s requests, but has still refused to provide the responses, including the emails presumably provided to the AP.

If they provided them once to a reporter, shouldn’t they be readily available to anyone else?

Is it possible, even probable, that a few emails, hand-selected and leaked to a reporter who made no attempt to put the emails in their proper context, could result in a story that got the material facts wrong?

Is it finally time to consider the possibility that Tony Bennett was right?

Cam Savage is a principal at Limestone Strategies and a veteran of numerous Republican campaigns and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He also worked at the Department of Education for former Superintendent Tony Bennett. Contact him at Cam@limestone-strategies.com.

1
Text Only
Letters to the Editor
  • LETTERS FOR JULY 31, 2014: Van Gilst’s letter was misleading Van Gilst’s letterwas misleadingCarl Van Gilst’s letter in the July 26 Goshen News (“It now takes three to do one man’s job”) has inaccurate information and misleads readers.He correctly states that for many years Goshen had one employee handling ord

    July 31, 2014

  • LETTERS: Churches shouldn’t compromise God’s word

    Thanks be to God that another church has enough backbone to face an evil opposition. God’s word hasn’t changed, only people have changed. The Bible clearly teaches this truth in the coming years. We are so disa

    July 30, 2014

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 26, 2014: It now takes three to do one man’s job It now takes three to do one man’s jobFor many years Goshen ordinance violations were handled by a single person answering directly to the mayor. It was a very efficient and effective system. Many violations were corrected by a phone call or visit wi

    July 26, 2014

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 25, 2014: Jesus, not gay marriage is the path to prosperity Jesus, not gay marriage is the path to prosperityI am writing in response to Mr. (Dave) Stephens’ letter (The Goshen News, July 10) titled, “Supporting gay marriage a boost for states.” I do not agree with gay marriage, but everyone has free choice.

    July 25, 2014

  • OPN GN140613 Coats_Dan_Senator POINT OF VIEW: U.S. and the world needs to act on this watershed moment in history The tragic death of 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in a wheat field in eastern Ukraine marks a moment when words of disapproval and expressions of grief are not enough. This is a moment when action must follow the outrage and rhetor

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140723 David Kolbe mug READER POINT OF VIEW: A bridge to the common good I am a candidate for the Indiana House of Representatives, District 22. I take this opportunity to offer a vision for a better political course in our state, and our nation.Polarization and partisanship have overtaken politics. It is not only evident

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pence not supporting Ritz We don’t envy the box Gov. Mike Pence has put himself in. Less than a year ago, he personally voiced a “willingness” to work with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz, acknowledging again the desire of a majority of Hoosier voters to see

    July 20, 2014

  • Time for a change in soccer Time for a change in soccerIn 1978, as an attempt was being made to establish professional soccer in the United States, I had a letter in Sports Illustrated saying soccer’s biggest downside was its lack of scoring.In that letter I also said there was

    July 19, 2014

  • Chaos defines the State Board of Education It has been my pleasure for the past year to serve as the newest member of the Indiana State Board of Education. I bring a fresh perspective to the board as an attorney and business executive who served as director of economic development under forme

    July 18, 2014

  • LETTERS FOR JULY 12, 2014: There’s only one aspect of marriage There’s only one aspect of marriageIt saddens me when many so-called Christians interpret the word of God incorrectly by using their own reasoning without seeking the Holy Spirit’s true word given to us according to John 14:16,17 and 26. And it bothe

    July 12, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Poll

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results