Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett seemed to employ a strategy from football Tuesday at the first meeting of the legislature’s Select Commission on Education: If your defense may be leaky, try to keep your offense on the field.
Called to answer questions from lawmakers about Indiana’s recent education reforms, Bennett and several assistants went through a lengthy, detailed presentation on Indiana’s growth model for measuring student improvement, along with the state’s new rubrics for awarding A-to-F grades to schools.
By the time they were done, Democrats on the panel took some verbal shots, but there seemed to be little time or energy for substantive discussion.
The legislature voted overwhelmingly last month to create the oversight commission, made up of all the members of the House and Senate education committees. It’s supposed to review the new grading system, teacher licensing and evaluation rules, and any other education issues the members want to investigate.
“I was disappointed no Republicans asked any tough questions,” Indianapolis Star reporter Scott Elliott says on his blog. “This commission only happened because there also are a lot of Republicans who have questions about the new grading system and are getting an earful from constituents, too. I thought we’d at least get a taste of any hesitation about how education reforms are being implemented from the GOP side.”
Maybe the Republicans got the message to be on their best behavior. Continue reading