Bloomington teacher on state ‘reform cabinet’

Tajharjha Gibson, an English teacher at Bloomington High School North, is one of 15 educators named to the Indiana Education Reform Cabinet by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett.

A Department of Education news release says the cabinet was created to ask questions and provide feedback on state initiatives, such as Indiana’s Growth Model for making use of test scores, revised rules for teacher preparation and licensing, teacher and principal evaluations, and proposed legislation.

“The Indiana Education Reform Cabinet members are a vital component in building a system that better serves teachers, school leaders and students in Indiana,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett said in the release.

Department of Education spokeswoman Lauren Auld said teachers were recommended for membership by the department’s senior staff. They come from all regions of the state, and they represent a mix of elementary and secondary schools and urban and rural districts.

Here’s hoping the cabinet will ask tough questions and provide a clear perspective on whether state reforms are likely to be effective in the classroom.

Gibson was one of 79 Monroe County Community School Corp. educators given reduction-in-force notices in the spring when the school board voted to cut spending and lay off teachers with the least seniority. She was called back to work over the summer.

Indiana Education Reform Cabinet members commit to a two-year term, with five meetings per year. The group met for the first time Saturday (Sept. 18) and will meet again Nov. 10. Because the cabinet wasn’t established by law and isn’t a governing body, it doesn’t fall under the Indiana Open Door Law, Auld said, and its meetings won’t be open to the public.

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