Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pence Agrees with Ritz on Suspending Test-Based Teacher Evaluations

Mike Pence, a hard-right ideologue, seems to be seeking re-election by convincing voters he's not a hard-right ideologue. Remember his sudden interest in investing some of the rainy day fund into road infrastructure after the Wildcat Creek bridge fiasco snarled traffic for weeks? Now he's making "reasonable guy" noises by agreeing (for once) with Superintendent Glenda Ritz that teachers should not be judged on this year's flawed ISTEP scores, a position she has been arguing for months. But this is a one-and-done for Pence; he'll be right back at punishing teachers and warring with Ritz before you know it.

Last year, with re-election still distant, Pence wrote in an open letter to education Secretary Arne Duncan, “Indiana will not go backwards when it comes to measuring performance in our schools on my watch. We do not support a pause in accountability as it relates to delivering A to F grades to schools, determining intervention strategies in under-performing schools, or teacher evaluations that reflect classroom performance.” That's the real ideologue.

Read more about Pence's change of heart on teacher evaluations here.

J&C "Comparison" of Lafayette Mayoral Candidates

You can read the Journal and Courier's comparison of Mayor Tony Roswarski and Republican challenger William Reed Jr here. However, there really isn't a comparison to be had there. For example . . .
Question: What makes you the best person for the office?

Roswarski: Thirty-two years of experience and leadership as a police officer, active community member, city councilman and your mayor. Together, we have created a strong business environment with a strong global reputation, fiscal responsibility, initiated important infrastructure projects, provide outstanding city services, and invest in quality of life initiatives.

Reed: I feel I am best for the office of mayor because of my great communication skills with the public, and I know what they need and want.

See what we mean?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ritz in Jeff Alumni Hall of Fame

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz was in town to be inducted into the Jefferson High School Hall of Fame. Ritz was a 1972 graduate. Read more and view video from WLFI here.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Senate Democrats Propose Simple Change to Civil rights Law to Protect LGBT Rights

Four words and a comma: “sexual orientation and gender identity.” That's all Indiana Senate Democrats are proposing to add to the state's civil rights law to ensure statewide protection for LGBT rights. Says Senate minority leader Tim Lanane, “Someone has to come forward and say, ‘Here’s the simplest, the easiest way but yet the way which will afford the most protection.'” Democrats are prepared to lead with a straight-forward bill while Governor Pence and Republicans, still reeling from the RFRA fiasco, continue to meet behind closed doors to find a compromise that the party's right wing can accept. That will be a challenge since they argue that protecting LGBT constitutional rights infringes on their religious rights. Read more from Indiana Public Media here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Robust Local Economy Allows for City to Budget Pay Raises

Lafayette's city council has passed a city budget that provides city employees with a three percent raise, the largest in 12 years. Says Mayor Tony Roswarski, “We’re a growing community. [City employees] work very hard. We ask more and more out of them. We continue to do more with less. We think they’ve earned a three percent raise.” The budget also include some new positions, including five police officers and a building inspector. Good to know our community's finances are, under democratic administration, healthy enough that we can reward those who serve us. Read more from WLFI here.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Redistricting Study Committee Discovers Partisan Divide

The initial meeting of a legislative study committee looking into redistricting Indiana revealed a difference of opinion among the participants: Democrats thought redistricting was urgently needed, but members of the Republican supermajority were pretty content with the system that keeps them in power. Go figure! Buck Creek senator Brandt Hershman was proud of the system, claiming it was not "the voodoo science that people suggest that it is, such that drawing a line on a map is ensuring an outcome." But even former State Supreme Court Justice Ted Boehm, a Republican appointee, criticized the lack of competitiveness in a state where more than 40 percent of lawmakers ran unopposed in the 2014 general election. The committee has two years to complete its work. Let's hope voters send a message before that! Read more here.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

General Assembly Dems Endorse Gregg

Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane thinks the preseason is over: “It’s time to declare that John Gregg is going to be that candidate. It’s also time to declare it’s time for change.” With that he and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath delivered the endorsements of every Democrat in the General Assembly to John Gregg, which has never been done before. “I’m happy to be able to endorse John here today,” said Pelath, “to send the message that the Democrats are unified.” Read more here.