Saturday, April 1, 2017

Vic’s Statehouse Notes #291 – March 31, 2017

Dear Friends,

Now we know! House Bill 1005 would allow appointing a K-12 State Superintendent with no K-12 experience!

Now we know! Bill sponsor Senator Buck has made House Bill 1005 the “Mitch Daniels Could Be State Superintendent” bill. (See quotes below)

Now we know! The Senate bill does not require that the Governor appoint a K-12 educator to be State Superintendent. Nothing in the new amendment defining qualifications says “K-12”.

Now we know why the Senate leadership was willing to damage the entire Senate’s reputation as a body that stays true to its own rules.

Now we know why the Senate leadership has put its credibility with voters on the line to authorize a second vote on a bill that was decisively defeated, what some have called a violation of Rule 81E, to end 166 years of power for the voters to elect the State Superintendent, the latest downgrade of our democracy in Indiana.

Now we know. The reason for ignoring Senate Rule 81E and pushing the bill through the Senate was to write a formula into law whereby Mitch Daniels or someone like him could be appointed State Superintendent.

In the words of Senator Breaux, it is still a “bad idea”. It allows a person with no K-12 experience to be appointed to lead K-12 education in Indiana.

Yipes! That’s not right.

This bill is flawed! The Senate should vote HB 1005 down – again!

Contact your Senator or all Senators before the final vote this Monday, April 3rd, in the session beginning at 1:30pm. Let them know the new amendment is unacceptable. The State Superintendent must always have K-12 experience. Let them know you oppose taking the power to choose the State Superintendent away from voters and handing that power to the Governor.

Here is What Happened During Second Reading Amendments on House Bill 1005

Updating the path of House Bill 1005:
  • After 166 years, Speaker Bosma and the Governor really want to end the power of the voters to elect the State Superintendent.
  • The Senate voted down the bill to do so 23-26 on February 20th.
  • Senate Rule 81E (as quoted in the IndyStar) says when a bill is defeated “that exact language or substantially similar language shall be considered decisively defeated and shall not be considered again during the session.”
  • The Senate Rules Committee passed the bill 8-4 on March 27th, saying the amendment made it substantially different language.
  • Debate over amendments on March 30th turned out to show that the new amendment was not substantially different. The Senate version voted down on Feb. 20th allowed the Governor to appoint a person with no experience in K-12. Now the new amendment turns out to allow appointment of a person with no experience in K-12. There is no difference. Here is how this played out on Second Reading:
Senator Breaux’s Amendments

On Thursday (March 30) on the floor of the Senate, Senator Breaux proposed an amendment to strike the line “Executive in the field of education” in the list of four work experiences making a person eligible to be appointed by the Governor, calling it a vague description of eligibility that no one can define. She said the other three listed (“Teacher, Superintendent, Principal”) are sufficient in terms of background for eligibility.

Listen to bill sponsor Senator Buck’s response to the amendment: “I rise in opposition to the amendment. While we are trying to consider the availability to the Governor of somebody that would be the administrator of our department of ed, I hope we realize that someone with the depth of experience of executive leadership and in higher ed such as former Governor Mitch Daniels would be excluded from that category. I think it gives the Governor a great deal of latitude in looking to somebody that has executive experience in the field of education.”

Sen. Breaux responded:

“OK that brings a little bit more clarification to me. We’re making it possible for folks like Gov. Daniels to return as secretary of education. I still think that’s a bad idea and ask for your support of my amendment.“

The amendment failed on a voice vote.

Earlier, Senator Breaux had proposed an amendment to delete the word “preferably” from the two following descriptors of who the Governor can appoint:
“(2) has demonstrated personal and professional leadership success, preferably in the administration of public education;”

“(3) possesses an earned advanced degree , preferably in education or educational administration, awarded from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university; and”
The word “preferably” means that the State Superintendent is not required to have experience in the “administration of public education” and is not required to have a degree in “education or educational administration.” It is optional. Senator Breaux made a strong attempt to make sure it was not optional, but her amendment was voted down 9-40.

The Fatal Flaw of the New Senate Amendment: It Doesn’t Require K-12 Experience or Degrees

We are left with a fatal flaw in the bill to appoint the State Superintendent. Not only does it take power away from citizens who vote, but it also leaves open the door to appoint a person with no K-12 experience and no degrees in education.

Tell your Senator you have read the fine print and House Bill 1005 would allow a State Superintendent with no K-12 experience. This must not stand!

This is flawed legislation and deserves to be defeated a second time when the Senate votes on Monday.

Contact Senators This Weekend Before Monday’s Vote

If all 26 Senators who opposed the bill the first time maintain their no vote, the power of voters will not be diminished. They need to hear from voters loudly and clearly.

Once again, the 26 Senators who voted no on February 20th are as follows:

Senator Becker Senator Glick Senator Leising Senator Stoops
Senator Bohacek Senator Grooms Senator Melton Senator Tallian
Senator Breaux Senator Head Senator Mishler Senator Taylor
Senator Crane Senator Kenley Senator Mrvan Senator Tomes
Senator Crider Senator Koch Senator Niemeyer Senator Young
Senator Doriot Senator Kruse Senator Niezgodski
Senator Ford Senator Lanane Senator Randolph

The 23 Senators who voted yes on February 20th but now should be asked to take a principled stand on Senate Rule 81E to call this bill “decisively defeated” and to stop a bill that clearly allows for appointment of a State Superintendent with no K-12 experience and no degrees in education, are as follows:

Senator Alting Senator Charbonneau Senator Houchin Senator Ruckelshaus
Senator Bassler Senator Delph Senator Long Senator Sandlin
Senator Boots Senator Eckerty Senator Merritt Senator Smith
Senator Bray Senator Freeman Senator Messmer Senator Walker
Senator Brown Senator Hershman Senator Perfect Senator Zay
Senator Buck Senator Holdman Senator Raatz

One Senator who was excused and did not vote on the bill was Senator Zakas, who should also be contacted on these points.

  • Tell them how you feel about losing the power to elect the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Tell them how you feel about the wording of the new amendment which would allow a State Superintendent with no K-12 experience.
  • Tell them how you feel about Senate Rule 81E and the Senators’ decision to pass a previously “decisively defeated” bill when the new bill is equally as wide open as the first bill on qualifications. Tell them Senators should follow their own rules.
Will Indiana voters defend their powers? It’s up in the air.

The Senators need to hear from voters like you!

Thank you for actively supporting public education in Indiana!

Best wishes,

Vic Smith

“Vic’s Statehouse Notes” and ICPE received one of three Excellence in Media Awards presented by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an organization of over 85,000 women educators in seventeen countries. The award was presented on July 30, 2014 during the Delta Kappa Gamma International Convention held in Indianapolis. Thank you Delta Kappa Gamma!

ICPE has worked since 2011 to promote public education in the Statehouse and oppose the privatization of schools. We need your membership to help support ICPE lobbying efforts. As of July 1st, the start of our new membership year, it is time for all ICPE members to renew their membership.

Our lobbyist Joel Hand is again representing ICPE in the new budget session which began on January 3, 2017. We need your memberships and your support to continue his work. We welcome additional members and additional donations. We need your help and the help of your colleagues who support public education! Please pass the word!

Go to for membership and renewal information and for full information on ICPE efforts on behalf of public education. Thanks!

Some readers have asked about my background in Indiana public schools. Thanks for asking! Here is a brief bio:

I am a lifelong Hoosier and began teaching in 1969. I served as a social studies teacher, curriculum developer, state research and evaluation consultant, state social studies consultant, district social studies supervisor, assistant principal, principal, educational association staff member, and adjunct university professor. I worked for Garrett-Keyser-Butler Schools, the Indiana University Social Studies Development Center, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indianapolis Public Schools, IUPUI, and the Indiana Urban Schools Association, from which I retired as Associate Director in 2009. I hold three degrees: B.A. in Ed., Ball State University, 1969; M.S. in Ed., Indiana University, 1972; and Ed.D., Indiana University, 1977, along with a Teacher’s Life License and a Superintendent’s License, 1998. In 2013 I was honored to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, and in 2014 I was honored to be named to the Teacher Education Hall of Fame by the Association for Teacher Education – Indiana.


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