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This Week

Saturday, April 20, 2013 - 12:01 am

Common Core fight continues

Just last month, it appeared the movement to pull Indiana out of Common Core education standards was dead after the House Education Committee watered the legislation down to the point of meaningless. That was too bad, we said, because there had never been “a meaningful public discussion” of the issue. Because the debate had gone on mostly in education circles, “too many parents and taxpayers” had only “a vague understanding of what those standards will mean for public school students.”

How things have changed in that month. The anti-Common Core movement has been revived in a bill approved by the Indiana Senate. And the action was taken, apparently, because those parents “lacking awareness” went out and got some. They didn’t like what they learned and let the General Assembly know.


Must Pence be bolder?

For the “can’t win no matter what you do” file: Gov. Mitch Daniels was routinely excoriated for his boldness; he was always trying to push Hoosiers out of their “we’ve always done it this way” comfort zones. Now, barely three months into his first term, Gov. Mike Pence is taking heat from all quarters for a lack of boldness.

Pence learned to measure his words and proceed cautiously during his 12 years in Congress, writes The Indianapolis Star, “but such lessons are not serving Indiana’s new governor well now. Caution isn’t the right track for the chief executive of a state that needs bold leadership and the impatience, born of necessity, to drive major change with a sense of urgency.” The Journal and Courier of Lafayette says Pence must be “bolder, faster” and “break out of the cautionary stance that he’s taken .”


Child abuse unawareness

This is quite disheartening: A local study on reporting child abuse and neglect by medical professionals who deal with children discovered that only 5 percent found it very easy to identify an abused or neglected child. Five percent!

And the news gets even worse:

Almost 34 percent have had no training whatsoever in identifying an abused or neglected child.

Almost 50 percent did not even know about the Indiana law that makes it a criminal offense not to report suspected child abuse.

These are not just any medical professionals, mind you, but medical professionals who deal with children. There has been a concerted effort in recent years to increase awareness of child abuse and neglect. If this particular group is that unaware, that effort has obviously not been enough.


More alcohol for downtown?

Will having lots of places to toss back a drink help downtown Fort Wayne thrive? Apparently so, or at least that seems to be the animating supposition behind a new plan approved by the Downtown Improvement District and to be taken up soon by the City Council.

Under the plan, bars and restaurants that are in the “Downtown Dining District” and meet certain other requirements (non-alcoholic items making up at least half the sales, for example) could get a permit without regard to the state’s population-based quotas. Instead of paying up to $175,000 for a “three-way” license, they could get one in exchange for an annual $2,500 contribution to a new downtown marketing fund.

There are two issues that need to be considered by City Council members studying the plan.


Keep taxpayers in the debate

The latest revenue forecast came out this week, and it estimated the state will receive $290 million more in revenue than the previous forecast. That, says Gov. Mike Pence, should be evidence enough for lawmakers who have so far been reluctant to endorse his proposed 10 percent cut to individual income taxes.

Good for him. State legislators talk a lot about this or that need for more spending, and sometimes taxpayers are the forgotten part of the equation. Pence’s steadfastness keeps taxpayers in the middle of this debate.

Unfortunately for Pence – and, alas, for taxpayers – legislators seem weary of the belt-tightening they’ve had to endure in recent years, so they aren’t exactly in a cutting mood. House and Senate versions of the budget are close together, and neither gives Pence his 10 percent.