Knox School Board President Weighs in on Education Reform

Harold Welter

Last week we heard from the President of the Knox Federation of Teachers, Dick Wagner, on proposed changes in the State education reform package. This week we’re going to hear from the President of the Knox Community School Board, Harold Welter. He’ll give his views on similar parts of the proposed changes, especially those being advocated by Governor Mitch Daniels and Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett.

First on everyone’s radar is the growing number of charter schools.

“The biggest concern that I have about charter schools is that the traditional public schools and the charter schools are not yet on a level playing field,” Welter said. “The charter schools get some concessions that the traditional public schools don’t. If we can iron out those things, I don’t see a real problem here.”

But Harold says the proposals, to him, indicate that public schools are going to have to compete for students.

“It gets down to this in education, and I say education not just public education but education, it’s going to be competitive in the future. From my standpoint, that’s a good thing. We all have to get better if we are going to be competing for students. I think in the Knox Community Schools, we are in an ideal situation to compete.”

We asked him why he thinks the Knox Community Schools are in a position to attract students now and in the future.

“We have an outstanding staff full of competitors,” he replied. “This staff likes what they’re doing, they’re good at what they’re doing and they want to get better at what they’re doing. They want to draw students to their particular class at the Middle and High School levels. The Elementary School is a little different, but the Elementary is competitive at the standpoint of what we’re doing with technology and so forth. I think at the Knox Community Schools, we’re saying that competition is a good thing and we’re going to compete.”

Harold Welter will discuss school vouchers tomorrow.