Monday, April 14, 2014

Scott Needs GOTV Effort, Help from Teachers to Beat Behning

Michael Scott
Teachers will have not one, but two chances to vote against Bob Behning this election season.  Behning must be just a little concerned.

The Republican Chair of the House Education Committee is facing Republican Michael Scott in the May Primary.  Scott has some TV commercials running.  Like spring dandelions, the florist's yard signs have popped up all around Decatur Township including some of the huge variety.  Some of the biggest signs are along the road on the Richard Lugar Farm on Mann Road.

Bob Behning
I have yet to see a Scott sign, but we still have a couple of weeks.  Scott is a Lunch Pail Republican who ran against Behning in 2012 after the Decatur Township Republican voted for the virulently anti-union right-to-work legislation.  That year, he didn't fare too well against the veteran legislator.  Now, he's reaching out to teachers, too.

It's a smart ploy.  I had a chance to speak with House 91's Democratic nominee, Patrick Lockhart.  Lockhart says that he's been speaking with lots of teachers, and they seem united against Behning.  Lockhart says teachers have had enough of Behning and are ready to brush him aside in 2014.

Patrick Lockhart
As Tony Bennett found out...you don't mess with teachers.  If Scott can bottle the angst that Ritz did against his opponent, then he might have a good chance.

In many ways, a house district race is tougher than a statewide race.  It shouldn't be, but it is.  People know less about local races than state races, and those voters that would be needed to buck Behning's loyal primary-goers stay at home until the fall or until a Presidential year.  Scott has to motivate these folks to get out.  I'm not sure a few weeks of walking right before the primary will help.  That's why it's going to take the same kind of phone calls to people in HD91 to beat Behning that teachers made to help beat Bennett.

Certainly, I wish Scott the best.  If Behning loses, it's a good thing for education across the state.  Of course, I'm in the tank for Patrick Lockhart.  I think he's awesome and will make a tremendous House District 91 State Rep.  Since Lockhart is unopposed now, I'll be working hard against whatever Republican wins the May Primary.

1 comment:

Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer said...

I am really hoping that all voters who are able, will be motivated to vote for Scott and defeat Behning. I recently submitted a letter to the Indy Star in hopes of raising awareness among parents about this crucial Republican primary:

As a mother of four, I see how decisions made by non-educators at the statehouse are directly affecting my children in their public school classrooms. My third-grader just took a test that will determine whether or not he is to go on to fourth grade, regardless of his teacher’s opinion. He is about to take the ISTEP and the stigma of a failing school grade rests on his small shoulders. His teacher knows that developmentally appropriate practice is the best way to reach him, but she also knows that her job is tied to his test scores and she needs her income. How did we get here? Take a look at the legislative record of Rep. Bob Behning and then follow the money from his campaign contributors.

If you have wiped your child’s tears over the stress of testing, I hope you will go to the voting booth this May.

If you had concerns about new standards and were happy that they were being reviewed, I hope you remember this quote: ““Frankly, most of the time the public would not have a very easy time even understanding what standards are, let alone trying to help form them.” (https://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/03/11/indiana-common-core-bill-bottlenecked-house?quicktabs_4=1)

If you voted for Glenda Ritz, I hope you remember who said that her win indicated that the “public didn’t really know the issues.” (https://inschoolmatters.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/ritz-reaches-out-republicans-not-yet/#more-4297) and don’t forget how he introduced the bills that would undermine her control.

If you have raised money for your schools at bake sales, I hope you remember that last year alone, $81 million dollars of our taxes was redirected to private schools through the vouchers that Behning’s authored bills made possible. They sold those to us as a way of giving poor children an opportunity for better schools. Now Behning says it’s not about quality, it’s about giving families a choice regardless (http://www.journalgazette.net/article/2013303269989)

Accountability? How about a $91 million bailout for charters’ loans while some of our public schools can’t even afford buses to transport kids safely? Why must I buy my kids’ textbooks while the homeschool and private schools parents get tax credits? Public schools accept all learners, vouchers don’t.

Bob Behning’s website declares him “a champion for smaller government and free market principles.” Yet he has taken away our local control through his policies. Last year he even introduced a bill that would take away our local school boards and hand control over to the governor-appointed state board (HB1337). And when glowing teacher evaluations came back this year he responded: “We may have let there be too much local control” (http://in.chalkbeat.org/2014/04/07/teacher-evaluation-law-under-scrutiny/).

Schools should be for kids, not for profit in a free-market experiment. Your kids and mine are not data points on a graph for investors, they are children who deserve a fully-funded, high quality education. Choose local control this May and choose Mike Scott instead of Bob Behning in the republican primary for House District 91.

Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer