Mitch Daniels on Education

Republican IN Governor

End cruel, defeatist practice of passing kids who can't read

The days when education debates started and stopped at dollar signs are over, and high time. From President Obama down, everyone now recognizes that leaders in education are defined not by what they put in but by what they get out. But just for the record, and despite frequent misrepresentations to the contrary, Indiana is a leader in what we put in.

But that's not why others are following Indiana. It's our new commitment to rewarding the best teachers, liberating principals and superintendents, and providing low- and middle-income parents the same choices as their wealthier neighbors; that's what has caught the world's attention. And this year, when we end the cruel, defeatist practice of passing children who cannot read into fourth grade, and when our most diligent students begin to graduate from high school in 11 years, and get a head start on college costs with the dollars they earned through their hard work, others will take notice of Indiana yet again.

Source: Indiana 2012 State of the State Address , Jan 10, 2012

Public schools' failure fault of NEA & AFT unions

A miserably underperforming public school system is not taking its inevitable toll on our society and producing a workforce woefully unprepared to compete with those of other countries and woefully ignorant of the duties and requirements of citizenship in a free society.

It's easy to blame the failures of our public education on bad teachers, overcrowded classrooms, and inadequate resources, but the root of the problem lies within the system's own bureaucracies, in particular, the government unions such as the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers. The adults who hijacked education for their own advantage did not intend for our young people to suffer as a consequence, but it was inevitable that they would suffer once the unions sought to protect incompetent teachers, principals and superintendants against any accountability for producing well-prepared students.

Source: Keeping the Republic, by Mitch Daniels, p. 4 & 66 , Sep 20, 2011

NEA not entirely motivated by what's best for children

The NEA has inserted itself into a wide variety of left-wing causes over the past decades, but hasn't come to the defense of teaching the virtues of America's free institutions. Indeed, the NEA, which recently spent more than $2 million on a ballot initiative aimed at raising corporate taxes in California, has donated money to the Sierra Club and to ACORN, and has been a stalwart opponent of education reforms aimed at raising the quality of education through testing, vouchers and charter schools. It has even opposed education reform, such as merit pay, that are supported by President Obama. In a free society, such organization are well within their rights to wage political campaigns, but we shouldn't pretend that such campaigns are entirely motivated by what's best for the children and that they don't impact the individual rights the rest of us enjoy.
Source: Keeping the Republic, by Mitch Daniels, p. 68-69 , Sep 20, 2011

Pro school choice; pro charter schools; pro voucher

We expanded public school choice by enacting a new law that allows students to transfer to any public school district without paying tuition. The response was amazing. School districts started advertising their graduation rates, test scores and other academic achievements in order to attract new students. Competition works in education as elsewhere in life.

We also expanded charter schools, which gave parents new choices within the public system and, as underappreciated as it usually is, gave many parents a new avenue for getting involved in the education of their children.

To make real strides in education, you have to think outside the public system. In 2011, we pushed legislation that would give families who have tried public schools and found them unsatisfactory the power to take the tax dollars used to educate their children and spend it on sending their children to any school of their choosing, public or private. Effectively, Indiana is the first state with universal school choice

Source: Keeping the Republic, by Mitch Daniels, p.113 , Sep 20, 2011

Pay students to leave high school early

Working within the public system, we designed an innovative program that gives enterprising students who graduate high school a year early the money the state would have spent on their education had they stuck around for a final year. Students can use this money only to further their education, so the program rewards hardworking teens by giving them a leg up on paying for college.

These reforms alone will not produce the excellence we need, and our program has included a host of other changes, such as new standards for teacher licensure, annual A-F grades for every school and district, and replacing teacher tenure and pay by seniority with rewards and job protection based on classroom performance.

Source: Keeping the Republic, by Mitch Daniels, p.113 , Sep 20, 2011

Parents choose best public school, traditional or charter

We have broadened the right of parents to select the best place for their children's education to include every public school, traditional or charter, regardless of geography, tuition-free. And before our current legislature adjourns, we intend to become the first state of full and true choice by saying to every low and middle-income Hoosier family, if you think a non-government school is the right one for your child, you're as entitled to that option as any wealthy family; here's a voucher, go sign up.
Source: 2011 Conservative Political Action Conf. Keynote , Feb 10, 2011

Pay teachers, and award tenure, based on effectiveness

We know what works. It starts with teacher quality. Teacher quality has been found to be 20 times more important than any other factor, including poverty, in determining which kids succeed. Class size, by comparison, is virtually meaningless. Put a great teacher in front of a large class, and you can expect good results. Put a poor teacher in front of a small class, do not expect the kids to learn.

Teachers should have tenure, but they should earn it by proving their ability to help kids learn. Our best teachers should be paid more, much more, and ineffective teachers should be helped to improve or asked to move.

We are beginning to hold our school leaders accountable for the only thing that really matters: Did the children grow? Did the children learn? Starting this year, schools will get their own grades, in a form we can all understand: 'A' to 'F.' There will be no more hiding behind jargon and gibberish.

Source: 2011 Indiana State of the State Address , Jan 11, 2011

Lift backward-looking limits on charter schools

First, this Assembly heeded the call of President Obama and others and lifted Indiana's backward-looking limits on charter schools and on considering student achievement in evaluating teachers. Then our Professional Standards Board, led by our superb new Superintendent Tony Bennett, acted to strengthen standards for new teachers, and to open both classroom and leadership positions to those whose hearts call them to teaching from other walks of life.
Source: Indiana 2010 State of the State Address , Jan 19, 2010

Support vouchers for public schools

Source: Indiana Gubernatorial Election 2008 Political Courage Test , Nov 1, 2008

Use lottery revenue for free college tuition for two years

Source: Indiana Gubernatorial Election 2008 Political Courage Test , Nov 1, 2008

Voluntary prayer in public schools

Q: Do you support a moment of silence in public schools?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support voluntary prayer in public schools?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support abstinence-only sexual education programs?

A: Yes.

Source: Indiana Gubernatorial Election 2008 Political Courage Test , Nov 1, 2008

Proud of long-standing commitment to our public schools

Hoosiers are rightfully proud of Indiana’s long-standing commitment to our public schools. Hoosiers earn less income than the average American, but spend more of their income than the national average on their K-12 public schools.

The Governor’s proposals would strengthen the roles of the regional Education Service Centers (ESCs) to purchase a variety of products and services on behalf of participating school districts. The Governor’s “More Dollars to the Classroom” initiative would shift more funds [from products & services to classroom] to improve student achievement.

School districts would also be given more freedom to enter into shared services agreements, so that administrators responsible for such functions as transportation, facilities management, human resources, and information technology could perform them for multiple districts.

Source: Gubernatorial website, www.in.gov/gov, “Issues” , Nov 11, 2006

Other governors on Education: Mitch Daniels on other issues:
IN Gubernatorial:
Mike Pence
IN Senatorial:
Daniel Coats
Joe Donnelly

Newly elected Nov. 2012:
IN: Mike Pence (R)
NC: Pat McCrory (R)
NH: Maggie Hassan (D)
MT: Steve Bullock (D)
WA: Jay Inslee (D)

Re-elected 2012:
DE: Jack Markell (D)
MO: Jay Nixon (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
UT: Gary Herbert (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WV: Earl Ray Tomblin (D)

Up for re-election 2013:
NJ: Chris Christie
VA: Bob McDonnell
Up for re-election 2014:
AK: Sean Parnell
AL: Robert Bentley
AR: Mike Beebe
AZ: Jan Brewer
CA: Jerry Brown
CO: John Hickenlooper
CT: Dan Malloy
FL: Rick Scott
GA: Nathan Deal
HI: Neil Abercrombie
IA: Terry Branstad
ID: Butch Otter
IL: Pat Quinn
KS: Sam Brownback
MA: Deval Patrick
MD: Martin O'Malley
ME: Paul LePage
MI: Rick Snyder
MN: Mark Dayton
NH: Maggie Hassan
NM: Susana Martinez
NV: Brian Sandoval
NY: Andrew Cuomo
OH: John Kasich
OK: Mary Fallin
OR: John Kitzhaber
PA: Tom Corbett
RI: Linc Chafee
SC: Nikki Haley
SD: Dennis Daugaard
TN: Bill Haslam
TX: Rick Perry
VT: Peter Shumlin
WI: Scott Walker
WY: Matt Mead
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Page last updated: Apr 25, 2013