Thursday, February 24, 2011
Bennett Talks Good Game...Does He Believe It?
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett is making the rounds doing education reform meetings with teachers, administrators, and other stakeholders. I attended one of these meetings on Tuesday night with the Superintendent, and I must admit that I was impressed at his openness and accessibility.
Bennett took questions from the assembled group of mostly teachers and a few administrators for as well as had his staff explain the new evaluation procedures being proposed in the Indiana Senate. If I were someone that didn’t like to peel back the onion, I would be very impressed and perhaps even concerned that I had mischaracterized him previously.
As you know if you read this blog on a regular basis, I’m not one of those people.
If you do peel back that onion a bit, you’ll find that Bennett is kind of saying something in the subtext, and it’s this, in a nutshell, “No matter how many times I call this a collaborative process; this is what you’re going to have to live with and like it.”
That’s pretty much it.
I will say that Bennett seems like a really nice fellow. He comes across well-prepared and knowledgeable, and I take him at his word when he says that he doesn’t want to be the man who destroys Indiana’s public school system. I also take him at his word that he is disgusted by what he sees in some Indiana traditional public schools. If things are in some schools as he says they are, I would be disgusted, too.
The need for reform is there, but the reform needs to be without politics and with more input from the people on the front lines in education. Instead of being dictated to, teachers need to be consulted.
One thing did make an impact with me in the forum. Bennett said that if he was too harsh on good teachers when he came into office in 2009, then he apologized. Apology accepted, but I wish that Bennett would have listened more at that time, too.