Ethical Lapses Plague Republican Education Reformers

Education Reformers in Indiana are Poor Role Models

MUNCIE, Indiana – The Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette jumped on the ethics bandwagon within Indiana by calling out the lack of ethics surrounding Ivy Tech’s board member Bruce Walkup and Rob Carter, director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources until he left that post for a new $120,000 position as head of statewide security for Ivy Tech. Of course, there are strong connections to Mitch Daniels as Walkup was an appointee to Ivy Tech’s board by Daniels while governor.

The relationship between politicians in this state and the Billionaires pulling their strings while paying for elections are enough to make the coined term, “Hoosier Values” meaningless.

Former governor Mitch Daniels and current governor Mike Pence have led the chorus of republicans who tour the state talking about values and how Hoosiers pride themselves on having “strong values” (lumping themselves into the mix), yet role modeling behaviors we’d expect from those who learn their trade inside our expanding prison system.

As we’ve pointed out many times, Mitch had no problem violating ethics at the governor’s mansion and Purdue University.

Mike Pence doesn’t like the fact that Hoosiers elected Glenda Ritz over the embattled Tony Bennett, who got hired by Jeb Bush in Florida after his sound defeat, so he works overtime setting up a new board which carves out Glenda’s position as education superintendent. Meanwhile, Tony Bennett had to resign after the world learned he was fudging A-F school grades for a heavy hitting charter school owner, Christel DeHaan, who made donations to republicans in the “corporate education reform biz”.

Hoosiers can’t even get justice from these frauds by state departments setup specifically to hold unscrupulous politicians accountable. Both Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Inspector General, Dave Thomas, have run interference for the republicans. According to minority leader Scott Pelath, “When Tony Bennett quit his new job as Education Commissioner in Florida, he turned to Indiana Inspector General, Dave Thomas, to clear his name.”

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath wants to know if there really is an investigation. At one point, he referred to the Inspector General as the “dead letter office.” Hoosiers deserve to know that politicians who commit fraud on the people in our state are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If justice isn’t served in obvious cases like these, what’s the point of having these departments?

Hoosiers deserve better and our young impressionable minds deserve better role models. If “education reform” led by the “Billionaire Club” is such a worthy cause, why all the deceit, dishonesty, lack of transparency and cronyism associated with it?

As rhetorical questions go, their motives aren’t pure.  As we’ve said before, it’s not about the kids, it’s about setting up a new corporate structure to extract taxpayer dollars in our communities and sending the proceeds to Wall Street’s hedge fund managers who are  salivating over the potential of steady streams of income tied to each student aka “commodity to be traded”.

Kids living in poverty isn’t an acceptable”talking point” for republicans who are being told by their campaign contributors to reform schools and blame the teachers union. If addressing poverty caught on and solutions were demanded by Americans, it wouldn’t be palatable for republican campaign contributors, so teacher unions are demonized.

It’s a great sound bite and talking point, especially when repeated ad nauseam by conservative pundits, but guess what, like most of their talking points, it lacks supporting evidence. It’s a ruse used by pundits to convince Americans to support non-union corporate owned schools who put “kids first”.

However, when you consider the poor ethics of those touting these claims – BEWARE. The proverbial red flags are popping up everywhere and Hoosiers need to pay attention – Americans need to pay attention.

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.
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