Indiana’s public school teachers continue to be marginalized and manipulated as pawns in a dangerous political chess game. Our state’s elected officials probably think they’ve figured out how it’s going to work for them when the November election rolls around. They understand that electing a pro-public education candidate in the governor’s race is a much greater possibility than making a big dent in the supermajority the GOP enjoys in the congress. They also know that a change in governor would have immediate impact upon their anti-public education agenda. You can bet the farm that they’ve taken note of what has been happening in Kentucky since Governor Beshear ousted Matt Bevin.
The prospect of that kind of thing happening here in Indiana no doubt makes them quake in fear. It is apparent that they have adopted a new strategy of “good cop/bad cop” to try to fool the voters into thinking Governor Holcomb has an open mind regarding the plight of Indiana’s public school teachers. They’ve begun–and I predict will continue–to have Governor Holcomb begin to soften his public stance on public education issues. Just last week, for instance, Holcomb backed off of his stance of delaying any teacher pay raises until the matter could be studied more carefully (even after announcing pay raises for all other state level employees). He floated the idea of offering teachers an imminent pay raise and that made the social media world stand up and take notice. In the ensuing days, the supermajority legislature has shot down all pending bills that would raise teacher pay. Well, isn’t that a shame…but hey, you can’t blame Governor Holcomb, he was open to it. Can you see how we are being played? Expect a lot more of that in the next few months.
In the mean time, let’s talk candidates. I have to admit, I was completely blindsided by Senator Eddie Melton’s announcement that he was dropping out of the race for governor. My immediate reaction was that I had crawled out on a limb and then had it sawed off out from under me. That announcement hurt, I’m not going to lie. But I can’t blame Mr. Melton. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to devote the kind of time and energy to raising money for a campaign like that. I had high hopes for him. His platform, personality, and demeanor were perfectly suited to present a real challenge to the Holcomb camp. But alas, those hopes are dashed. Now it’s time for the next man or woman to step up. We need a vibrant and qualified candidate to step forward. We need someone we can rally behind and support with our energy and money. We need to beat Holcomb. Who will it be?
I’d love to have Dr. Jennifer McCormick drop the “R” from her resume and change it to Independent–if not a “D”–and throw her hat into the ring. She has consistently been unafraid to stand up in defense of public school teachers despite the pressure she no doubt is under from her Republican boss. Her positions will be vacated at the first of the year to become a Governor appointed job. I’d love to see a newly elected Governor McCormick select her own replacement. I mention her specifically because I believe she is qualified and I believe she has the name recognition to be a big factor. It also wouldn’t hurt her chances that she has been a Republican.
That may be a pipe dream, but we need someone and we need someone fast. It’s not too late. We don’t have to resign ourselves to another four years of abuse.
Who will step up?
Let’s do this!
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