Gov. Mitch Daniels got several things right in his closely watched May 4 speech on education policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.
He acknowledged that, for all the hoopla over Indiana’s expansive new private-school voucher program, the vast majority of students will continue to attend public schools. And he made the key point that the success or failure of Indiana’s education reforms will depend on how they are implemented.
Daniels kept down the bombast, generally refrained from demonizing teachers’ unions, and even had a kind word for President Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, praising their focus on teacher effectiveness and charter schools.
You can watch video of the speech and a follow-up interview at the AEI website. You’ll see that, while some in the audience were looking for Daniels to signal his intention to run for president, he kept it low-key – more like a guest lecture for a college class than a tryout for the national political stage.
But some of what he said calls for scrutiny:
Teacher effectiveness — Daniels said teacher quality is “the dominant variable” in determining student success. “Some have quantified it as 20 times … the importance of whatever’s in second place,” he said. Previously, he has said teacher quality is 20 times as important as any other factor, including poverty, a bogus claim. If he had said teacher quality was the most important school-based factor, we wouldn’t argue.
Indiana test scores – Decrying evaluations that rate 99 percent of Indiana teachers effective, Continue reading