Over the past decade, Indiana has become Ground Zero in the battles of over school reform. The state has allowed the creation of scores of charter schools, concentrated in the state’s three largest counties – Marion (Indianapolis), Lake and Allen. Indiana now has the largest school voucher program in the country with thousands of students receiving taxpayer funded vouchers to defray the cost of private school tuition. Reformers have allowed increases standardized testing for nearly every Indiana public and many private schools, along with teacher evaluations, school and district evaluations and the takeover of five public schools by the State because of chronic low performance. The school reform movement in Indiana and the nation hasn’t been without controversy. Especially charges of the involvement of big money and corporate entities influencing and in some cases running public schools. There’s millions being invested in charter schools by private corporations and non profit entities with opaque disclosures.
In an exclusive Afternoons with Amos interview, Dr. Doug Martin, says the role of big money in public education is corrupting the process and harming schools. Dr. Martin is the author of the book Hoosier School Heist, which is gaining popularity among educators and community folks greatly concerned about the ruthlessness of school reform. In his first interview by a major Indianapolis media outlet, Martin appeared on Afternoons with Amos to talk about his book, and evidence he uncovered and its implications for the community. Martin’s book documents the role of private foundation money from billionaires like Bill Gates on the progressive side and the DeVos (Amway) and Walton (WalMart) families on the conservative side. Martin, who holds a PhD in 19th century American literature, became interested in the subject of educational reform in Indiana by reading articles in the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, a newspaper critical of the scope and pace of Indiana school reform. Martin began looking into the issues and that developed in a book that blasts what he feels are the forces negatively impacting Indiana education. From former Governor Mitch Daniels and Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett, to progressives like Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Stand for Children, Teach for America and The Mind Trust. Doug Martin’s book is a scathing indictment of the role of major big money in education today. Click the Link for Information on Martin’s Book. HOOSIER SCHOOL HEIST BOOK WEBSITE Click the Media Player to Hear the Afternoons with Amos Interview with Dr. Doug Martin Author of Hoosier School Heist. Runs 57 Minutes ©2015 WTLC/Radio One.