Tony Bennett is eagerly awaiting the upcoming Indiana legislative session.
"We see the issue of quality as number one” says Bennett, Indiana State Superintendent of Education.
Bennett will push for many big changes. He wants more private education opportunities. This means more charter schools and tuition assistance to parents.
"If that quality is delivered through a quality charter school...quality private school…if that meets the needs of children that's what we should be about” says Bennett.
Bennett is also in favor of teacher merit pay, so teachers judged to be the best performers will get the best paychecks.
"There is no research that currently tells us that longevity or
Degrees attained have any indication on how a teacher performs” says Bennett.
Earlier this year Governor Daniels cut $300-million from K-12 education.
A few weeks ago he said the cuts were over. Bennett stands by the Daniels.
"I certainly hope Governor Daniels is correct. I have no reason not to believe him” says Bennett.
But he admits challenging days are ahead.
"No question we have not seen our way of this tough economy” he says.
East Allen County Schools has seen its share of challenging days.
District officials have been criticized for passing a huge redesign plan.
Six schools will close while others will be restructured
Today fox fort wayne asked Bennett for his thoughts on the plan.
“We should be looking for redesign that improves student performance,
And not using it as a way to avoid accountability. I’m not making a judgment as to whether that happened or not” Bennett says.
Indiana lawmakers also have tough days ahead. A big priority will be the education budget, but Bennett is optimistic that Indiana will end up with the most comprehensive education reform in the U.S.
“I’ll be very happy when we get there” he says.