SBOE dysfunction must be resolved

Posted by: Jay Wood  | Thursday, February 12, 2015

The General Assembly established the State Board of Education (SBOE). We are charged by the Indiana Constitution to ensure that the SBOE is doing its job.
The SBOE is failing to do its job. In its continual (and embarrassing) dysfunction over the past two years, it has not only failed, but is becoming detrimental to the education of Hoosier students.

Case in point: testing time for third graders is increasing from six hours last year to 18 hours this year. It is ridiculous and outrageous. Concerns about this possibility emerged on the SBOE last year. SBOE members (Republican and Democrat alike) asked for this issue to be placed on their agenda for months, only for the Board’s Chair, the State Superintendent, to block it. Now the ISTEP testing situation is a mess and there is little time for anyone to resolve it. This is detrimental to education and to our children. 

Apparently, the Elkhart Truth Editorial Board is fine with that. I am not and you should not be either.

If this was political, Republican supermajorities in the legislature would have acted within their authority two years ago to not only remove the Superintendent as the SBOE Chair, but to make the Superintendent position appointed by the Governor (as has been advocated in Indiana for years, by both parties).

We did not. There was hope that ideological differences would be worked through and that the Board would focus on moving education forward. The legislature will not stand by and let a detrimental situation to our students continue. Thirty six states allow their State Board to elect their own chair. Indiana’s Board must be allowed to work out its differences and move forward. By allowing Indiana’s SBOE to elect its own chair, that is exactly what the legislature is doing.

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Rep. Wesco represents portions of Elkhart and St. Joseph counties.