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Bennett visits USF to discuss education changes

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett accepted an invitation from USF's Educators In Action to engage in a question-and-answer session in Brookside this month.

The USF education majors joined academic deans, President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF, retired USF Provost Dr. Rolf Daniel, Chief Academic Officer Dr. J. Andrew Prall and Chief Administrative Officer Dr. Stacy Adkinson for the informative session that addressed the state education climate, including teacher accountability, public school funding, charter schools and private school vouchers.

As their state transfers from the Indiana Academic Standards to the Common Core State Standards, USF education majors questioned the reasoning for the switch, and asked for a comparison of the standards in terms of quality.

Teacher salaries and merit pay saw a good deal of discussion, as the future teachers asked for a description of the process through which teacher salaries will be determined and how environmental factors such as the location of schools in lower socio-economic strata will factor into merit pay.

Students also asked Bennett about teacher expectations and education changes he sees in the future, and whether schools will have the resources to support technology needs.

"The University of Saint Francis welcomes dialogue between its students who are prospective teachers and the state's top education official regarding the direction of education in Indiana," President Kriss said.

"The opportunity to meet Tony Bennett was fantastic and very insightful," said USF Educators in Action secretary, Claudia Alcala. "I feel better informed about current education reform and prepared to enter the education field with an open mind."

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