Governor Mitch Daniels Highlights Education and Local Government Reform in State of the State Address

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels

Education and local government reform were the two main topics presented by Governor Mitch Daniels at his State of the State address Tuesday night. The points he stressed were the expansion of charter schools, merit pay for teachers, and the elimination of township government. He chastised those who favor longevity over talent.

“Today’s teachers make more money not because their students learn more, but just by living longer and putting another certificate on the wall,” Daniels said. “We have seen Teachers of the Year laid off, just because they weren’t old enough. This must change.”

He told school district boards and administrators “if you can’t improve education in your district, you should be taken over by new management.”

“In 1999, Indiana passed a law that said schools must either improve their results or be taken over by new management. The little ones who entered first grade then are 18 now. In the worst of our districts, half of them will not be graduating.”

He said that as it stands now, 99% of Indiana’s teachers are rated “effective.”

“If that were so, why are only a third of our students able to pass national math or reading exams?”

Families who can’t find the right public or charter public school, he said, should be able to apply state dollars toward “the non-government school of their choice.

Democrats complained the Governor’s speech was short on jobs and Indiana’s broken unemployment insurance system.