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Saturday, Apr. 19, 2014

Talking straight about House Demo walkout

Posted Saturday, March 19, 2011, at 10:04 AM

It's time to talk straight about the walkout of Indiana House Democrats.

It's time to talk about this exodus to an Illinois hotel to avoid debating, compromising or doing their part to work the legislative process just the way it was done when the Democrats held the majority.

The last election sent a clear message that the majority of Hoosiers didn't want to play the game and walk the legislative path like it had been done before.

The voters said change was needed and they gave the Republicans a 60-40 majority and a mandate to orchestrate change in our schools, the way we deal with unions, and the budget.

Sure, the education reforms crafted by the Daniels administration and the state Department of Education may be extreme in some cases, but that still doesn't give the lawmakers the right or a free ticket on this one.

When they made the decision to walk off their jobs more than four weeks ago it should have sent Hoosiers into a clamor of disgust.

Bringing it home, what would we think if the lone Republican member of the Greene County Commissioners simply walked off his part-time elected job just because he didn't like something or a series of things that other two Democrats in the majority were proposing?

I think we would be appalled and calling for his resignation.

It's time call this political cry-baby game in Indianapolis what it is -- a simple neglect of duty.

It's time to talk about how the Feb. 22 walkout has literally shut down state government, the result of a political temper tantrum that's worse than any playground bully lurking on Hoosier school playgrounds.

A lot of good bills to help many people -- young and old across this state -- have died while the House Democrats have been caucusing across the state line to avoid arrest.

It's time to talk about how the Democrats elected in the Indiana House should be ashamed of the way they have betrayed the trust of the voters who put them in this elected office.

I say fine them and fine them stiff -- more than the $350 a day fine now imposed.

If that doesn't work, arrest them, censure them, impeach them, kick them out of office.

The voters are watching and taking names.

Election day is coming. That's reality.

Schools to keep transportation funds

Local public school districts across the state won a major legislative victory Wednesday that could allow them to keep precious transportation dollars rather than share them with charter schools in their areas.

A part of the original House Bill 1002 would have required school districts to share a portion of their state aid for transportation with charter schools, which are free public schools that are independently run.

The Senate Education Committee stripped that provision out when the bill passed out of committee by a 8-2 vote.

The committee passed version of the bill also:

* Raised to 75 percent the proportion of teachers in a charter school who must hold or be working toward a teacher's license, up from 50 percent in the filed version of the bill.

* Limits reuse of empty traditional schools. School districts will now have two years to find a use for an empty school building before they could be required to turn it over to a charter school.

* Removed mayors of smaller Indiana cities -- like Linton and Jasonville -- as potential sponsors of new charter schools. The bill will expand sponsoring authorities to include private universities and a new statewide charter school board.

* Added teachers to the process of converting traditional schools to charter schools. If at least 51 percent of parents in a traditional public school district vote for conversion, the decision also would now need 51 percent of the school's teachers to sign off.

The revised bill now goes to the full Senate and back to the House for approval.

Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487; by e-mail at schneider.nick@gmail.com .

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

The Democrats are doing what the voters in their districts elected them to do; they elected Democrats to represent their interests. As far as I am concerned, if walking out is the only way to keep Mitch and his cronies from passing this ridiculous legislation, then more power to them.

There's a reason why Mitch didn't reveal his plans for education prior to the election. He knew that the voters wouldn't stand for it, and he needed the Republicans to gain control.

Yes, election day will come again, and I will certainly remember how our representatives have MISrepresented me. When we have a representative who flat out says "I wish there was something that I could do for you people," that's a problem. There is something that he can do--vote for what the people in this district want, not what the Governor wants.

-- Posted by counselor1 on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 12:57 PM

From a very left-leaning independent...

I AGREE!!!!! They may be earning the support of those on the extreme left, but they are losing the independent vote.

Geez, I wish I could take a month long, tax payer funded vacation if I didn't like something going on at work, but unfortunately I have to go to work and meet my responsibilities and fulfill my obligations if I'm happy about it or not.

As for eduation - I was against Mitch on the toll-road and the time change and what he did to the BMVs and....

But he's right on about this one. The school's are BROKEN. Look at how many students in Greene County failed the ISTEPS - these aren't the SATs, it's an EASY test to test basic grade level concepts... I'm horrified at the number of students that fail. Perhaps Mitch doesn't have THE solution, but he has a solution and trying something...anything...is better than sticking with the status quo and saying it's what we've always done, so it must be the right way to do it...

-- Posted by RB on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 2:25 PM

RB, when is the last time you have been in a public school? Have you taken the ECA or seen the test...come to my classroom and see what you can do! I work my butt off each day...have you ever thought it's the test?!?!?!

-- Posted by garfield on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 5:29 PM

These same democrats told us they were running FOR office, now they are running FROM office and we/you as taxpayers are still paying their salaries to stay out of state. If I didn't show up for work beacause something didn't go my way, I'd be FIRED !

-- Posted by sawyerjohnson on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 6:44 PM

* Added teachers to the process of converting traditional schools to charter schools. If at least 51 percent of parents in a traditional public school district vote for conversion, the decision also would now need 51 percent of the school's teachers to sign off.

Wow! When did we elect teachers to represent us. If the majority of the population want a charter school then there should be a charter school. The taxpayers of this state should determine how their money is spent, not the teachers. Having an "inmates run the jail" mentality is not a good business practice.

Also, running from your elected responsibilities is not representing anyones interest. If you don't like the bills presented for vote then stay and fight. How much money is going to be wasted because it will be necessary to call special sessions in order to get the business of the state done. I wonder if some of these bills might have had enough votes to pass and the senior democrats know it and decide to run an hide.

-- Posted by MovedOn on Fri, Mar 18, 2011, at 9:45 PM

This article should be about why the Republican controlled General Assembly has failed to do what they were elected to do....Create jobs.

By the way, Nick, the Democrats are representing their districts by fighting for the beliefs of THEIR constituents. You can be proud of the fact that Matt Ubelhor shows up to work every day to push Mitch Daniel's agenda down our throats while taking away local control of public schools and other local government agencies. I am not.

The issue is the total unwillingness to compromise up until the past few days. You are touting some of the improvements in bills going through the General Assembly...and, by doing so, are making the Democrats' point. The bills are improved.

The "straight" talk is the the Republicans thought they could railroad all of the changes that they want through the Assembly and people of Indiana would turn a blind eye to it. WE ARE PAYING ATTENTION NOW! Check out your own paper's poll.

The Democratic walkout is a filibuster...the same type of strategy that the Republicans used against the health care that so many people don't support.

I am a moderate, but these bills are too extremely even for many Republicans to support.

-- Posted by THE END on Sat, Mar 19, 2011, at 6:59 AM
Nick Schneider
I respectfully say I am proud that Rep. Ubelhor, Rep. Borders, Sen. Waterman are doing what the people elected them to do -- go to work. The election outcome was a clear message wanting change in the way this state operates things - including our schools. I'm not buying the ISTA and NEA "this is extreme" scare tactics that so many are spreading forth as accurate and factual at the rallies and in talking points. The Demo House members are wrong and need to get back to do the people's work and quit playing the bully role. In our democracy elections are won and lost. The last election was a clear Republican victory and now the Democrats don't know how to play the game. I say fine them now and if that doesn't work fire. It's time to get back to work.

..nick you are a bright guy and i agree with

you on many issues but daniels did not lay

out his plans to dismantle education during

his campaign. hoosiers have good quality public

schools and daniels is placing a national conservative agenda above what hoosiers want. he is doing this despite the fact

that we have good public schools in

indiana and parents for the most part are

happy with their schools.(check the gc daily polls) one glaring fact

that the republicans have misjudged in this

mess is that over half of the teachers in indiana

are not democrats! this may change in the next

election and the savy mr bosma is finally realising this.

-- Posted by thunderoad on Sun, Mar 20, 2011, at 1:30 PM

I can't believe what I am reading. I am neither left nor right, although I tend to lean towards democratic views. I am for the issues NOT the party. What you failed to state Nick is that this isn't the first major walk-out of either political party. It was done 3 times before now by the dems and 3 times by the GOP. So, if standing up for their constituents is wrong, your party has wronged the people in the past as well.

I hate that it is costing tax payers even more money for them to stand up for their beliefs. But standing up for the rights for yourself and others is usually costly.

This is a slight of hand for Daniels and the GOP. It is basically watch this so you don't see me doing that. Which I mean by throwing this state into turmoil over the walk-out people are not noticing all of the RIFTs going on in the public schools. So while the idea seems noble to help "more kids in the schools of Indiana" we aren't able to help the kids in the public schools now. the kids that HAVE NO CHOICE where they go. It is just a matter of geological venue. People that place their children in private schools have a choice. They CHOOSE to pay for their child to have that prominent school listed on their college application.

My son is a 3.9 student and has done all he is supposed to do to get into a good college. But because we are lower middle class there just is NOT any funding out there. Instead of worrying about charter schools I feel they can and should be worrying more about those kids wanting to further their education to be future leaders of society.

Let's remember what is important. Our children are like Whitney said, the future, and we need to make sure they have the ability to lead society one day. That means better choices now and for the future. That means standing up for what is right in this and all other political choices our "esteemed governor" makes. JMO

I may sound as if I am ranting and this is not my finest hour with grammar etc.. But I am highly upset that the real issues are not being hit head. Come on people! Is this about the parties and their agendas or about what is right for us? I don't think they can be one and the same the way it's going either.

I'm ready to vote none of the above before this is over!

And one other things that seems separate but isn't. If the lottery money that amounts to millions each and every day was being put to the best use possible and not lining pockets of those making their way to the state house every day, we wouldn't have to worry about funding our schools and having budget cuts to necessary programs. But that is entirely another subject for another day.

-- Posted by KC88 on Sun, Mar 20, 2011, at 3:55 PM

I have a great idea..

How bout we make the government really small.

That way you won't be mad about them spending your money where you don't want them to. And I won't be mad about them spending my money at all.

Everyone would be happy, Right?

-- Posted by hilljak on Sun, Mar 20, 2011, at 8:10 PM

You hit the nail on the head. It IS my money as well. As a tax payer for over 35 years at least and an avid voter I do believe I have the right to question how said money is spent. And you can't tell me you are happy with government spending state or federally!? If so then it might be time for you to look around at our roads and at the lack of jobs and see that people are hurting. That the arts are being cut from schools. That the rich seem to get richer and the poor, well we don't even need to emphasize how the poor are doing. And what about the middle class? It is essentially disappearing. And you don't want that. That IS where most of the tax dollars come from. Economic growth depends on the middle class. A country is only as strong as its leaders. And at this point our leaders are too interested in special interest groups and political agendas based on their party to get anything done. This country needs to take a step back and see we are in trouble and our leaders are failing us. Our kids depend on us to keep this country in order so that they have something to run in the future. And it has to start and end with better governing on all levels. Maybe smaller government is the answer now that you mention it. Less personal agendas and more dealing with what they are elected to do. take care of this country and its constituents. Without special interest groups to muddle it up more.

-- Posted by KC88 on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 2:51 AM

BTW - The last time I was in a classroom was about 20 years ago when I was an education major at IU. I opted not to go into the field although fell just 1 course of my degree. I was so enthuiastic about many of the alternative methods we were learning about, but knew I would be frustrated by the bureaucracy of the system. My sister however was in a classroom last Friday as a teacher. I know she was not even able to select somethign as simple as the reading method she used in her classrrom, it was all handed to her as part of her district's approved curriculum.

My son was also in a classroom last Friday. He is currently in the top 5 of his high school class and that took a lot of work. I started teaching him to read when he was 3 and in elementary school on snow days or vacations we'd play with money to learn everything from addition and subtraction to fractions, decimals, and percentages.

No it never occurred to me it is the test because in all the years of my son taking it, I believe there were 2 sections in which he didn't get a pass +. He generally came home saying how boring and easy it was. Maybe my son is 'so gifted' that for 'average' students the test is difficult? Or maybe all children are capable of success if parents, schools, and communities work together to ensure their success?

Perhaps some children fail because the methods used don't fit their learning styles. Perhaps some students fail because they don't have a strong foundation in the basics to build upon as they move to more advanced levels. Perhaps some students fail because they are socialized from early ages that they need to be 'nervous' about the test...go home get a good nights sleep, have a good breakfast (shouldn't they do that everyday)... what about telling them it's a fun way to show how much they've learned? I know when I was in grade school that I just to love taking home papers with starts and smiley faces, where do students get test anxiety? They aren't born with it...it's taught.

Perhaps I'm too much of an optimist but I believe everyone is capable of learning in the correct environment, but public schools are a one size fits all design and our children do not just come in one size or shape...

I guess I don't understand why educators are so threatened by the concept of charter schools (which are still public schools). They will still need teachers to teach students there...they will still need administrators to run the schools, but they will allow flexibility in using a variety of educational methods to reach more students.

-- Posted by RB on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 10:59 AM

"The voters said change was needed and they gave the Republicans a 60-40 majority and a mandate to orchestrate change in our schools, the way we deal with unions, and the budget."

Instead of the word "orchestrate" I think that "railroad through" would be a far better term here.

As far as "the way we deal with unions" (aka, the people who brought you the 40-hour work week, the weekend, and health benefits), a better term would be to "eradicate and emasculate" wouldn't you think? Let's call the cards as they lay, ok? The GOP and big business agenda is to eliminate unions as any kind of force for the good of labor, and to allow only the benificence of corporations to look out for their workers.

Corporations such as WalMart who only until recently even offered their labor force healthcare benefits.

Far from a "mandate" for such a railroad action, I think it is fair to say that the voters were deceived. No-one knew the GOP agenda included these severe actions at the time of the elections, and if they had the results may have been a bit different.

"It's time to talk about this exodus to an Illinois hotel to avoid debating, compromising or doing their part to work the legislative process just the way it was done when the Democrats held the majority."

Exactly what "compromise" is available to the minority? It is clear that Daniel's battle plan is to force his agenda through no matter what dissent may be present. If such an attitude of "compromise" existed at the Continental Congress, we'd all have Queen Elizabeth on our coins today, and Washington would have been hung as a traitor.

"I say fine them and fine them stiff -- more than the $350 a day fine now imposed.

If that doesn't work, arrest them, censure them, impeach them, kick them out of office."

Would you be of the same opinion the next time the GOP does the same thing?

-- Posted by Lil' Hahn on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 11:13 AM

I respect the honesty, dhobbs.

We now know that the agenda you support does not care about workers, healthcare, or education. Basically, anything that does not give the wealthiest amongst us even more power and control than they already have.

That honesty is refreshing, it is certainly more than we've come to expect from the GOP.

By the way, I have the Buckeyes, feel free to bet against them.

-- Posted by Lil' Hahn on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 1:25 PM

I'd be tickled to death to see the Bulldogs take it all. With your warm and disarming debate style, dhobbs, I feel myself being pulled towards supply side economics, I just can't wait for those ashes to trickle down from your cigar.

-- Posted by Lil' Hahn on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 2:15 PM

Way to go Nick. I hope you are correct and people do vote the over paid, over compensated cry babies out of office. Good night, I don't aggree with everything Mitch Daniels has done, but he has done a good job over all. Indiana is diffently in better shape than most states, partly because he trimmed government back. The problem is/was we got so fat and lazy from big brother pretending to take care of us, when they were really only filling their own pockets at our expence. We all wanted property tax reform, we have cried for it for decades, but when you got it, we then realized services cost money.

-- Posted by Sandman301 on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 9:20 PM

In 2010, Governor Daniels stated during his State of the State Address that "....[the] Assembly heeded the call of [the President] and others and lifted Indiana's backward-looking limits on charter schools and on considering student achievement in evaluating teachers." He also said, "After growing education spending five years in a row, by a total of twelve percent, we were recently, reluctantly forced to trim it..[by 3%]" Only liberals can claim they didn't see Daniel's plans for education prior to the 2010 election. A majority of us heard what he said and voted to change our schooling options.

This I thought was pretty interesting from Wikipedia:

"During the 1860s and the American Civil War, the legislature was the scene of intense debate. At the beginning of the war, the General Assembly was controlled by the southern sympathetic Democrats. Governor Oliver Morton and the Republican minority were able to prevent the General Assembly from meeting in 1862 and 1863 by denying the body quorum. Morton even had some members of the body arrested or detained on suspicions of disloyalty. The lack of funding created by this crisis again led to the near bankruptcy of the state. In 1864, the Republicans gained a majority and convened the General Assembly to remedy the state's funding problems."

I stand corrected.....the Republicans DID prevent a quorum.

-- Posted by J0HN GALT on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 9:51 PM

dhobbs unfortunately choices are few and far between when you have that bad habit of being economically challenged.

Have you really looked at how expensive it is to home school or to send your child to any other school? Public schools are all but privatized as is. Let alone paying more than i did for my kids around here. Not to mention it is much harder for your children to get into a good college and get financial help after being home schooled. So, no, you are uninformed if you believe even for a minute that is even a choice for most around here. Not to mention I am already paying for public school education whether I have a child in school or not. Now I may have to help over-priced "name Brand" education as well. That really hasn't proven to be better than public schools that have the right teachers and resources needed to teach children. Just my opinion.

-- Posted by KC88 on Mon, Mar 21, 2011, at 11:41 PM

I guess my last post struck a nerve.

I have felt Mitch's plan to dismantle public education started years ago. He has actually done a remarkable job of waiting until he possessed all the cards. Wait... until those Democrats walked out. How dare they foil his plans. it will be interesting to see who comes out of this smelling better. Republicans have already went back to the drawing board on some education bills. I guess Democrats aren't the only ones with potential voter issues.

Mitch has centralized power in Indianapolis. Most people were more than willing to give up their local power for lower taxes. I just wonder how this plays out in years to come.

-- Posted by GCC on Tue, Mar 22, 2011, at 12:14 AM

Being home schooled has no effect on your ability to get financial aid for higher education. It's all based on income. It's also not any more expensive to home school than to send your child to public school. Check out the Court News after this school year ends. Take a look at the long list of people that will be sued by the school because they can't afford to pay the outrageous fees charged. It happens every year. And many good colleges accept kids that have been homeschooled. Many times those children do better on the entrance exams simply because they learn at their own pace and have more one on one time with the person that is teaching them. Plus you're not paying lab fees, field trip fees, $100+ per book (in some cases), new clothes bought just for the first day of school and so on.

-- Posted by whatanut on Tue, Mar 22, 2011, at 6:38 AM

Morton was a democrat who did not agree with his party so....POOF, he became a republican. Imagine that, not agreeing with something and changing sides. Nice example.

-- Posted by Hedley Lamarr on Tue, Mar 22, 2011, at 6:39 AM

Come on Nick, you know how this works. It's happened several times before. I didn't vote republican (and let the bashing begin), but their clearly is no negotiating when one side heavily outweighs the other. We have seen this from both parties over the last several years, and even decades. I do, hoever, agree, that it's time for them to get their butts back to the Statehouse ande put it to an end. I think that there are several new republicans who should have abstained from voting on several bills when they were not properly prepared, briefed, or well versed on what they were facing. the fact that they chose to follow party lines could be attributed to what led to the Democrats walking out. I could go on, and on, and on, but i won't. I just want a government where we can put our party affiliations aside and just conduct business. I strongly feel that there is no longer any delineation between what Republican policy is vs Democrat policy. I think that went out the window about 30 years ago. Not sure what the solution is, but why can we not eliminate political affilitiations? (and here's where I will get blasted).

-- Posted by BNP on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 12:36 AM

Hmmm. A one-party system? What might we call this party? "The Fascist American Religious Tea Party?" You could use the acronym for short.

-- Posted by Lil' Hahn on Wed, Mar 23, 2011, at 11:55 AM

Political parties make things much more difficult and cause many problems. "Following party lines" just because you don't know what is going on hurts more people than it helps. If politicians thought about what would help the people instead of what would help their party, a lot more good would be accomplished.

-- Posted by lhsstudent on Sat, Mar 26, 2011, at 1:15 AM

well said lhsstudent

-- Posted by FTM on Mon, Mar 28, 2011, at 10:29 PM

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