We are dedicated to informing, inspiring, and empowering voters
to advocate on behalf of Indiana's children
and their right to a high-quality public education.

Schedules & Events

November 11, 2013 --Business Meeting
Time: 1:45-3:00 pm – Monday
Location: ISTA Uniserv Office, 415 Landmark, Bloomington 

November 18, 2013 --Business Meeting
Time: 9:30-11:00 am – Monday
Location: Showers Inn, E 9th and N Washington, Bloomington

November 25, 2013 --No Business Meeting 

November 28, 2013 – Thanksgiving

December 2, 2013 -- Business Meeting
Time: 1:45-3:00 pm – Monday
Location: ISTA Uniserv Office, 415 Landmark, Bloomington

December 9, 2013 -- No Business Meeting

December 10, 2013 -- Evening Topical Presentation [TBA]
Time: 7:00-8:30 pm -- Tuesday
Location: Bloominngton City Council Chambers, 401 N Morton St.

December 16, 2013 --Business Meeting
Time: 1:45-3:00 pm – Monday
Location: ISTA Uniserv Office, 415 Landmark, Bloomington 

December 23, 2013 -- No Business Meeting

December 25, 2013 -- Christmas


This is a great time for you to renew your membership for the new membership year, 
July 1, 2013-June 30, 2014. Renewals are absolutely necessary to maintain our strong lobbying presence with the legislature and provide local resources and activities.

  • Select the Membership link,
    print and send the form to
  • ICPEMC. P.O. Box 5056, Bloomington, IN  47407-5056
  • A unified local-state membership is $35
  • The membership year begins July 1.

Sign up for the following:

[E-mail Wendy Marencik at wmarencik@gmail.com]



Description:  This group is actively involved in communicating to the public through newspaper and electronic media about issue related to public education at the local, state and federal level.  

Organizers:  Wendy Marencik, Melissa Keller and Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer

3. Subscribe and Like Us:

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Issue: Maintaining professional librarians

ICPE was represented at the MCCSC school board meeting by Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer.

Support: Several ICPE members spoke in support of ICPE 's position - Thanks to them for their support. The room was full and residents were standing in the hall.

Comment: Cathy presented a very balanced argument on behalf of having professional librarians involved with students versus persons with good intentions but no training.

Cathy also pointed out the necessity for the board and community to fight for public schools rather than letting the legislature send tax dollars to private schools and failed charter schools.

Summary: ICPE leadership and members were at the forefront of this discussion.  The MCCSC administration has yet to provide a recommendation to the board. Hopefully good judgement will prevail and those who supported the referendum will see the board and administration  support what they fought for.

Reporter: R Fierst

Read the Joan and Phil Harris blog commentary
on the Community Conversation on Testing:
Thoughts on Standardized Testing thoughtsonstandardizedtesting.blogspot.com/

ICPE Candidate Forums

Online at CATS 

The MCCSC school board candidate forum from October 15 is at http://catstv.net/m.php?q=511.

The MCCSC school board candidate forum from September 11 is at http://catstv.net/m.php?q=416.

The August 27, Glenda Ritz presentation -- Dr Bennett declined the invitation through his scheduler but his campaign denied knowledge of the forum -- is also at the CATS web address, catstv.net, specifically http://catstv.net/m.php?q=371

If you go through catstv.net, the queued up programs on the right can be selected while the page is loading. 

Are charter schools
public schools?

Steve Hinnefield, School Matters. 

Is a charter school a public school or a private
school? Both education historian Diane Ravitch and Rutgers professor Bruce Baker have discussed the question in recent blog posts.

The conventional answer is, of course a charter school is a public school; it just operates under a different set of rules than so-called traditional public schools. But as Ravitch and Baker point out, it’s a little more complicated than that.

“Those who casually (belligerently & ignorantly) toss around the rhetoric that ‘charters are public schools’ need to stop,” Baker argues. “This rhetoric misinforms parents, teachers and taxpayers regarding their rights, assumptions and expectations."...

... it used to be that Indiana charter schools were sponsored only by public entities, answerable either directly or indirectly to the voters: local school boards, state universities and the mayor of Indianapolis.But the Indiana legislature expanded sponsorship in 2011 to include 30 private colleges and universities (as well as a state charter school board). Are those entities accountable to the public in same way?  

Race to Nowhere.  

Forty-six (46) attended the local premiere of Race to Nowhere, an award winning documentary that highlights the unintended consequences of our pressure cooker culture and education system, sponsored by the Indiana Coalition for Public Education-Monroe County and South Central Indiana and the  Indiana University Bloomington Department of Curriculum and Instruction held on  

Saturday, May 19, 2012, in the IUB School of Education Auditorium.

See the Feedback results from participants. 

For more information, call (812) 325-1224. Join the conversation at Race to Nowhere

Diane Ravitch's blog: 
Indianapolis Charters Dumping Students.... In a letter to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett, White claims that charter schools are intentionally waiting until after the states average daily membership date to release special needs, homeless and other difficult to place students back to IPS, thereby keeping state aid for the students, while shouldering IPS with the responsibility to educate them….

White said 72 children have come back to IPS because they were homeless and could not be transported to charter schools or the charter school was unequipped to handle their special disabilities or they faced disciplinary expulsion….Read more at Diane Ravitch's blog.


Mike Walsh, May 16, Letter to the CommissionI wrote previously before your first meeting, and I want, again, to express my deep concerns with what is happening to public education in Indiana.  As with many past and current teachers and administrators, I feel completely battered by the attitude and actions of the superintendent of public instruction and the IDOE board which does his bidding as a rubber stamp of approval.  

I won't belabor you with what you know about the reforms that are impacting public education.  They form a litany of perceived failure by the IDOE and its leader.  Regardless of any evidence to show that is not so, failure has been repeated endlessly and teachers are portrayed as the uncaring, selfish, lazy, incompetents causing this to happen.  You've effectively destroyed their rights as union members, unions being claimed the co-primary cause of failure.

 Read more.

Mike Walsh Wins the Day!
by Roger Fierst

It wasn't quite that simple, but Mike Walsh let the I U Board know that they didn't know the facts about public education in Indiana. When one of the board members was suggesting a very low statewide graduation rate, Mike let him and all in the room know that it was a very good 85%. Thanks Mike!

The board members who were involved with private schools, Park Tudor in Indy and Canterbury in Ft. Wayne, didn't seem to understand the issues in the inner cities. It is difficult to understand that they are making value judgements about public schools when they seem to know so little. They pushed Dean Gonzalez to get on the bandwagon of all the things ICPE dislikes.

Dean Gonzalez did a GREAT job of supporting public education without all of the profit making gimmicks of the day.

Pat Shoulders, board member from Evansville, was fantastic.

A board member from Carmel was VERY good.

Joan Harris, Mike Walsh and I attended.

Onward and upward for public education.

New study may push lawmakers to re-exam standardized testing

Education professionals say a new study is about to blow the debate on standardized testing wide open.

The school year seems to revolve around standardized tests; either preparing for them or taking them.

The stakes are high.

"To determine teacher pay, teacher's jobs are being terminated, school rankings, they are being used for things they have never intended to be used for," said Linda Bridges of the American Federation of Texas.

Bridges, President of the Texas American Federation of Texas, a union for teachers, wants the current testing system to be re-evaluated. She thinks a new study by UT Associate Professor Walter Stroup just might push lawmakers to do so.

"It calls into question what we're doing in this state," Bridges said.

Read more: http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/19184599/new-study-may-push-lawmakers-to-re-exam-standardized-testing#ixzz22jCh0Ddz

Pop Quiz on Testing: 

You can practically hear the collective relief as school testing season winds down across America. It's not just the sighs of millions of over-tested and stressed-out children. Joining them are state officials, school administrators, teachers, and parents. All, for varying reasons, are no doubt happy to close the door on a particularly disastrous season that included public uproar over a confusing reading test question and a scoring fiasco on the Florida writing exam.


Before we put away the No. 2 pencils, though, how about sharpening them for one last exam? Why should our kids be the only ones to suffer the acute anxiety that comes from opening the test booklet to Page 1? Let's share their pain and take a test to see how well we've been paying attention and learning from our obsession with tests. 

Read more >

MCCSC Board Denounces
Indiana Voucher Program

 By April Toler

MCCSC board members adopted a resolution Tuesday that denounces the state’s voucher program.

“I’m ready to sign this, say yes, say whatever it is to pass this resolution,” said board member Lois Sabo-Skelton who has passionately spoken out against the voucher law in previous meetings.

Board members signed the resolution during a regularly scheduled board meeting Tuesday.

The board has been discussing a possible resolution for the past few months and the corporation’s attorney has been working on its wording.

The resolution, in part, states that the Monroe County Community School Corp. opposes “the use of any taxpayer funds to pay any portion of private education” and the district supports the lawsuit which challenges the voucher law.

Thank you for endorsing
the National Resolution
on High-Stakes Testing!

The Resolution campaign is off to a great start. We now have more than 10,000 individual signatures and endorsements from nearly 400 organizations. Our work has earned national attention, including from theWashington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

The Resolution has generated particular strength in Florida. School boards in several of the state's largest districts and the state PTA have endorsed it, and the Florida State School Board Association passed a parallel resolution. With similar outreach in other states, we'll have an even stronger impact!

To do so, we need your help. Please take a few minutes to build this important movement. You can find sample letters for use with friends and colleagues, school boards, PTAs and other groups, and legislators posted on the web at http://fairtest.org/how-you-can-build-support-national-resolution-high.


National Association 
of Secondary School Principals Endorses National Resolution Against High-Stakes Testing

The big news this week is the endorsement of the National Resolution by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. 

The New York Daily News reports that the City Council will take up a resolution against high-stakes testing today, and that more than 1,100 college professors across New York State have signed a letter opposing the proliferation of the high-stakes tests. 

FairTest, an author of the National Resolution, reported in a press release that there are now over 10,000 individual signers and that people are using the summer to take the campaign to the campaigns!

In St. Petersburg, Florida, for example, voters already convinced seven of eight contenders for the local school board to oppose high-stakes standardized exams. By "bird-dogging" candidate forums, asking pointing questions, publishing opinion columns in local media, and commenting on political blogs, advocates expect to deliver a clear message to those who ultimately make assessment policy: "Enough is enough!" 

Please continue to reach out to your school board, parent council or other education group, urging them to endorse the resolution.

 See MCCSC story.


Parent Trigger Law
and Won't Back Down

Discussion of the Parent Trigger Law offers opportunity to retake ownership of the concept of "choice."

The 'Parents Across America" FAQ on the Walmart-ALEC-Koch-Murdock sponsored film, Won't Back Down, explores the misrepresentation of parental choice.

"There are many ways that districts can provide more and better choices within the public school system, by creating magnet schools and specialized schools that unlike charters, do not drain resources from public schools, privatize public buildings or take decisions out of voters’ hands. 

"Why should a public school built with taxpayer funds be given to a private corporation just because 51% of current users signed a petition? 

"If a local firehouse was ineffective in putting out fires, or a police station in fighting crime, would we choose to hand these public services over to a private company, or would we demand that our elected leaders improve them?"

See more at http://saveourschoolsmarch.com/paa-faq-re-film-wont-back-parent-trigger/.

 Education Week: Teacher suggests that in the two years since the favorable reactions to the release of Waiting for Superman,  critical of public schools and teacher unions, and Won't Back Down,  the dialogue has shifted to labeling the criticisms as shallow and self-promotional. See more at


Cui bono?
The question rarely asked,
let alone investigated. 

By Anthony Cody

 As our public schools are systematically re-engineered for dubious reasons, with questionable results, by people of uncertain motives, there is a disturbing lack of skepticism on the part of our watchdogs for the public good, journalists. One of the basic principles of reporting is to ask "cui bono" - who benefits? In the Watergate scandal, the key informant whispered to reporters Woodward and Bernstein, "Follow the money." But very few reporters today seem to be "following the money" in the field of education. Read complete article at Education Week: Teacher, Living in dialogue, Cui Bono? The Question Rarely Asked, Let Alone Investigated, or at Cui Bono?

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The 2009-2010 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year blog addressing vouchers.

In-Depth Reads. Catch up on Rethinking Schools. Monthly articles and reviews of education reform issues. From the Rethinking Schools Archives, Challenging Corporate Ed Reform, Stan Karp's  revised version of a speech given at the Northwest Teaching for Social Justice Conference in Seattle, October 2011.

Follow the Money! 
Fall funding of school takeover won't drop with enrollment.  
State board approves funding 
formula that provides extra cash. 

by Scott ElliottThe Indianapolis Star

If next year's enrollment projections for four soon-to-be-former Indianapolis Public Schools hold, the State Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday guaranteed that the outside groups coming in to manage them will have that very dream scenario -- up to $6 million in extra cash. 

Read more at FTM :: Fall funding $[Copyright 2012 The Indianapolis Star]    

November 6
Election Results

Governor/Lt Governor:
Mike Pence and Sue Ellspermann (R) defeated John Gregg and Vi Simpson (D).

State Superintendent
of Public Education:
Glenda Ritz (D) defeated incumbent Tony Bennett (R).

In Senate 40, Mark Stoops (D) leads Reid Dallas (R); in House District 46, Bob Heaton (R) defeated Jim Manns (D); in House District 60, Peggy Mayfield (R) defeated Peggy Welch (D); in House District 61, Matt Pierce (D) was unopposed; and in House District 62, Matthew Ubelhor (R) defeated Jeff Sparks (D).

MCCSC School Board:
In District 2, incumbent Sue Wanzer defeated Randy Barrett and John Crane.
In District 4, David Sabbagh defeated Donovan Walling.
In District 5, incumbent Keith Klein defeated David Werhake. 
In District 6, incumbent Lois Sabo-Skelton was unopposed.

RBBCSC School Board:
In RBBCSC At-Large: incumbent Larry Thrasher leads Brian Werner.
In the Richland seat, incumbent Debra Walcott leads Mathew Shockney.
In the Bean Blossom seat, incumbent Jimmie Durnil was unopposed.