Teachers: Gov. Daniels Speech Was A "Slap In the Face"

By John W. Davis

January 11, 2011 Updated Jan 11, 2011 at 11:54 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Indiana's NewsCenter met with area teachers after they watched Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels' State of the State Address.

More than half of the Daniels' 30 minute speech centered on education.

Even with bad weather, six teachers met with members of the media at the Fort Wayne Education Association office in downtown Fort Wayne on Tuesday night.

The goal was to listen and then discuss the educational portions of Daniels' State of the State Address.

One teacher's initial reaction was the speech was "slap in the face" to her decades of hard work.

Meanwhile, the Indiana State Teachers Association also shared some legislative disagreements they have with Governor Daniels.

THE ISTA said "Seniority" is not given, it's earned through years of effective teaching.

However, Daniels said during his speech, 99% of Indiana teachers are rated effective, but only 33% of Indiana students can pass a national math or science test.

Teachers also shared that merit or performance based pay might not be a good idea.

The ISTA pointed out research does not show merit based pay leads to improved student performance.

Indiana's NewsCenter questioned teachers that Governor Daniels had spent many years as a business executive, and that Daniels is on record saying he still considers himself a business leader.

With that background, we wanted to know did teachers fault his fiscal perspective.

"No I don't fault him for looking at it as a businessman," replied South Side High School Teacher Renee Albright.

"What I fault him for is thinking that everything that happens in the state should be run on a business model. Kids aren't widgets. When you went to school, you weren't a piece of metal that was stamped out and put on an assembly line," said Albright, a 25-Year Teaching Veteran.

Northrup High School Teacher John Eastes has 44-years of classroom experience.

He did not agree with much of Governor Daniels educational talking points.

However, Eastes also stresses more parental involvement.

"A chance in the commitments of homes, in the home environment to support kids to get them to improve their students habits, early reading skills... things of that nature we really need that in America today," said Eastes.

Teachers were eager to discuss Daniels take on the importance of charter schools.

During his speech, he motioned to a section where students and their parents were sitting.

At that point, he asked state lawmakers would you prevent those students from getting the education they desperately need and deserve.

However, Albright did not appreciate Governor Daniels portrayal of kids languishing for charter schools or the need for private schools vouchers.

Albright admitted she did not think Daniels was wrong for seeking educational reform, but she said that should not come at the expense of cutting funding from public schools.

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