The dust of the Red for Ed Action Day rally has barely settled and already the Indiana House supermajority has shown that it has no respect for the cause of public education whatsoever. Their contempt for public school teachers was put on full display today when they selected Todd Huston to replace the retiring Speaker of the House, Brian Bosma.
November 19th was a grand opportunity. As 20,000 teachers from across the state gathered in solidarity outside the Statehouse, there was a feeling of hope in the air that maybe, just maybe, that showing could have an impact on the state’s lawmakers. They had the opportunity to see that awesome display and to take to heart the message that was being sent. Today, they sent a resounding message right back at teachers which was tantamount to a spit in the face. That message was, “we are doubling down on our war on public education and to hell with you.”
The appointment of Todd Huston as Bosma’s successor could not be a more direct slap in the face to teachers. Huston represents everything that is tearing public education apart. He could be the poster boy for the anti-public education agenda being rammed down teachers’ throats for the past 15 years.
Before he was elected to the state legislature in 2012, Huston, a Fishers resident, served as the chief of staff for former state schools superintendent, Tony Bennett. That’s right, the infamous Tony Bennett. You might remember Mr. Bennett from his greatest hit. He was a champion for school choice vouchers and a vocal proponent for charter schools. He wanted charter schools to succeed so badly–to show up traditional public schools–that he was caught red-handed demanding that the performance grade of one of his pet charter schools be artificially raised. When Bennett’s pet charter school, Christel House, failed to perform up to his standards, he saw to it that the school’s grade was changed to an A. Bennett was soundly defeated by upstart educator, Glenda Ritz, in 2012. He later resigned a similar post in Florida in shame when his dirty dealings in Indiana came to light. Todd Huston was right by Bennett’s side throughout this scandal.
But there’s more to the Todd Huston story than just that. Huston is a senior vice president of the College Board, the company that administers the SAT college admissions test. Yes, the soon-to-be Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives is a big wig at a monster standardized testing company. Holy moly! Can you say conflict of interest? One of the biggest scandals in all of public education is the big money tied to these standardized testing companies. Now, we’ve promoted a man with a vested interest in such companies to the highest post in the Indiana House.
This war just escalated.
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