For immediate release:
Feb. 9, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS - State Rep. Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) today urged lawmakers to find a different path in solving the disputes that have marred efforts to improve the quality of education for children in grades K-12 across Indiana.
Wright made her remarks during debate on House Bill 1609, legislation that would effectively remove the Superintendent of Public Instruction as the chair of the State Board of Education.
The proposal, offered by members of the supermajorities that control the Indiana House and Senate and supported by Gov. Mike Pence, would give more authority in setting education policy to a board of education populated by appointed individuals rather than a school superintendent who garnered more votes than the governor in the 2012 general election.
Despite Wright’s opposition, HB 1609 was approved by the House supermajority and sent over to the Senate for further action.
“I am not surprised that the legislation passed, but I am disappointed that we have turned our backs on an opportunity to discuss the core issues raised in this dispute in a manner that doesn’t involve partisan politics,” Wright said.
“While we endlessly discuss who should be chairing meetings, we are not spending time on what is most important here: improving the quality of education that our children are getting in classrooms across this state,” the lawmaker added. “This dispute does not do a single thing to make it easier for us to help Hoosier schoolchildren achieve at the highest level.
“I know that there will be more proposals coming before this Legislature on this particular issue, but I feel that our time is better used by focusing on issues that can help our children succeed. We need to have conversations that promote problem-solving for the sake of our students and their futures,” Wright concluded.
Hear Rep. Wright's comments on the House floor as she argues against
House Bill 1609 in this 29-second mp3 clip.