Thursday, January 27, 2011

State superintendent visits Chamber for education discussion

The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce hosted a lunchtime talk with Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, at The Chamber building in Fort Wayne on Thursday.

Two dozen local business and education leaders, including Chamber President and CEO Mike Landram and Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson, gathered at The Chamber on Ewing Street to listen to Bennett’s philosophy and ideas and to ask follow-up questions.

Bennett discussed plans for infusing education with more competition and accountability. With those two ideals firmly in place, "I think the system will begin to perform at a higher level."

While talking about the many priorities his department faces, he said, "There’s no question, teacher quality is Job 1."

"We believe we have to identify and reward great teachers and principals," Bennett continued. "And we want to build a system that allows us to recognize them, reward them, remediate them, and, if we have to, remove them."

Bennett said Fort Wayne Community Schools are leading the way in creating new ways to find and reward good teachers.

"One of the experts in this state dealing with this is Wendy (Robinson) and what she’s doing with her LEAD schools," he said.

But setting such high standards are worthless if schools do not have the tools or freedom to reach them, Bennett said.

"If we’re not going to give Wendy Robinson the flexibility to meet very high accountability standards, we’re punishing her," he said.

After his talk, Bennett hosted a question-and-answer period with the guests.

No comments: