Following up on my post earlier today concerning the race for Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has a strong endorsement for Richard Wood. It points out that, on experience, there is no contest. Wood has a solid record of 19 years as a superintendent of the Tippecanoe School Corp. (As I mentioned before, this is a school district with a good record of educating our kids.) By contrast, Tony Bennett is in only his second year as superintendent of Greater Clark County Schools in Jeffersonville.
In addition, the Journal Gazette cites concerns about Bennett’s likely approach to vouchers and privatization.
Indiana voters should also look closely at Bennettâ€™s priorities, specifically his goal of directing more dollars to the classroom. Thatâ€™s the tag line for the â€œ65 percent solution,â€ a campaign promoted by Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com, whose intentions appear to be about directing more dollars to private schools. The Park City, Utah, resident, who recently gave $10,000 to Bennettâ€™s campaign, bankrolled a multimillion-dollar voucher drive in Utah last year. He said voters there â€œfailed the statewide IQ testâ€ when they rejected the referendum by a large margin.
Bennett, 48, said vouchers are â€œnot on my legislative radar now,â€ but the role that vouchers and other privatization schemes might play in Indiana schools in the next four years shouldnâ€™t be overlooked. Gov. Mitch Daniels, who said education will be his top priority in a second term, announced his support for Bennett before state Superintendent Suellen Reed announced she wouldnâ€™t seek another term, and the governor has also identified classroom spending as an issue. Danielsâ€™ position on privatization in the public sector is clear.