To the Editor:
I am a mother of four children and I am worried about the future of public schools.
My 18-year-old recently graduated and is now in the Honors College of IU.
When he was in third-grade, he did hands-on science projects studying the water cycle and went on a field trip to learn more.
He wrote and illustrated stories and had an author's event to share them with the younger children.
He played pretend at recesses.
My 8-year-old is having a dramatically different experience.
Everyday he comes home with a worksheet on which is an example of a test question that he is practicing.
Punctuation, fill in the bubble, comprehension of a paragraph -- these are symbolic of the focus of his classroom time.
He is assessed constantly.
His teacher's job is on the line. As a third-grader, he will take another test to see if he is reading well, and if not, he will flunk third-grade.
It doesn't matter if his teacher knows that perhaps he was not feeling well that day or didn't understand the questions, she will have no choice.
Why have we come to this?
Why have we lost local control of our schools?
In the name of "choice," our legislators, governor and state superintendent have taken it away.
Simplifying all learning and labeling schools "failures," using standardized test scores goes against educational research, but sure helps the private companies and for-profit charters awaiting state takeover of those schools.
Because the teacher's job and the school's future are tied directly to children's scores, the test becomes the bottom line.
There is no time for our children to find their passions and follow their interests.
Our teaching professionals are being told what and how to teach by the state.
We spend $46 million a year on testing in Indiana.
That money could go to hiring more teachers, programs and services for children.
These special interests are buying our politicians in order to privatize and profit from our schools.
We need representatives who will represent their districts, not blindly follow a party line backed by big money and their interests.
Our children are the citizens of tomorrow and they have a constitutional right to a high quality, public education.
Jim Mann will protect your children's future. He is an educator who wants local communities to have local control.
Vote for Jim Mann.