Bennett Leery Of Latest Federal Stimulus, Dealing With Public Education

By Jeff Neumeyer

August 10, 2010 Updated Aug 10, 2010 at 5:35 PM EDT

COLUMBIA CITY, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Tony Bennett, Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction, isn't turning the money down, but he has reservations about the education stimulus plan approved Tuesday by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Dr. Bennett’s main beef with the plan is that he doesn’t feel it gives school leaders enough wiggle room on how to use any monies that funnel down through the system.

Hoosier Governor Mitch Daniels on "Fox News Sunday" said the new stimulus is really not the right way to go, though he said the state would cash any checks sent to it by the feds.

Indiana could receive about $200-million in the plan.

Bennett conducted a town-hall style meeting for educators in Columbia City Tuesday afternoon.

One of Bennett's concerns is that schools must spend any trickle down funds from the stimulus this coming academic year, to retain or create new jobs.

Tony Bennett/(R) Indiana Supt. Of Public Instruction: " We have had conversations already with some superintendents across the state who've said, you know, we've already set our budgets for the 2010-2011 school year. Our funding is set and we've made the necessary changes, there is concern about how this money will be rolled out."

Among the topics discussed at Tuesday’s summit in Columbia City, how the common core standards adopted last week by the Indiana Department of Education will benefit students.

The standards set up uniform curricula for students, based on international benchmarks, designed to help students from various states and countries to acquire the same knowledge and skills.

Standardized assessments to measure progress are also part of the core standards model.

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