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Rocky Killion is an amazing superintendent in West Lafayette, Indiana. To begin with, he produced a wonderful documentary about the assault on public education, called “Rise Above the Mark.” You can go to the website to find out how to order a copy to show in your community (it is also for sale on amazon.com). He is very critical of the testing-gone-wild culture that has been foisted on public schools in Indiana and across the nation. He is very sensitive to the damage done to education, to children, and to teachers. His colleagues named him Indiana’s Superintendent of the Year for 2015.
Now he is furious because the computers that give the state test–the ISTEP–froze during a practice run. That was just too much.
“It’s inhumane what we are doing to the kids, what we are doing to the educational environment, we lost so much instructional time today, it’s ridiculous,” Killion told WTHR-TV in Indianapolis on Feb. 12, after computers froze during a dry run for ISTEP last week.
The Superintendent of the Year for 2015, as named by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents, followed it with this: “I would prefer all of my students’ parents withdraw and become home-schooled during ISTEP, and then we can re-enroll them…..
Killion wasn’t backing away this week.
He repeated the same advice Monday during a visit to West Side schools from Glenda Ritz, Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction. (Ritz didn’t jump on board, instead calling on parents get their kids ready for ISTEP days.)
And on Tuesday, Killion clarified the statement, saying he wasn’t necessarily advocating the withdraw/home-school/re-enroll plan.
“Since there’s no legislative mechanism, that’s the only opt-out workaround that I know to tell parents,” Killion said. “Typically, when I’m asked a question, I try to come up with the correct answer, and that’s what’s happened in this case.”
The journalist writing the column is critical of Killion and so is this legislator:
State Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, wasn’t pleased to hear a superintendent “encouraging people to willfully thwart (the) system.”
“It’s just the latest episode in his series of irresponsible and provocative comments that bear little to no relevance to the school system he’s supposed to be leading,” Hershman said Tuesday, a day when the Senate was dealing with a bill that would strip some of Ritz’s authority and a resolution to shorten ISTEP that had doubled in length since last year.
“I think we test too much, and the ISTEP is not perfect, but testing is required under federal and state law,” Hershman said. “His comments represent a flawed example of leadership in education policy.”
Killion’s answer: “The only thing I’ve said is what I said in the interview when a reporter asked me how can parents opt out of ISTEP. That’s the only thing I’ve done.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., said: “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
Welcome to the honor roll, Rocky Killion!