• FORT WAYNE, Ind.—In a gathering in front of R. Nelson Snider High School, Evan Smith, a social studies teacher at North Side High School and candidate for the Indiana State House of Representatives, District 84, unveiled his education reform plan.

     

    Smith, whose candidacy has been endorsed by Indiana’s teachers, focused on creating conditions for stu...dents’ success and finding creative cost cutting measures that still provide teachers and schools with the resources they need.

     

    “I don’t think I’m an idealist for believing that education is about more than teaching to a test or that its values transcend Democrat and Republican,” Smith said.

     

    The full statement of the candidate follows:

     

    Principles for Indiana Education Reform

     

    Thomas Jefferson, one of the earliest supporters of public education in our country, said, “Self-government is not possible unless the citizens are educated sufficiently to enable them to exercise oversight.” As Americans, this gives us necessary perspective of the crucial role of education. The lagging state of our student achievement relative to the rest of the world gives us the urgency of our current circumstances.

     

    My wife Claire and I are both teachers, and we’ve seen firsthand both the promise of America’s students and the shortcomings of an educational system that owes them more. We’ve seen the tangled network of relationships — between governments, school districts, administrators, parents, teachers, unions and, most importantly, students — both helping and hindering academic achievement in our great State.

     

    I don’t think I’m an idealist for believing that education is about more than teaching to a test or that its values transcend Democrat and Republican.

     

    What I offer today is obviously not some cure-all or magic bullet, but rather a set of principles and ideas that will guide my decisions as State Representative and, if enacted, put Indiana on the path to academic improvement. These principles are: laying foundations for student success, providing support for teachers and schools, and finding avenues for creative cost cutting in our education budgets.

     

    Foundations for Student Success. Wherever you fall on the political spectrum or education debate, you agree that students come first. For our students to succeed, we have to create the right conditions. In a culture where fewer and fewer students have stable home lives, teachers must be able to offer greater individualized instruction through smaller class sizes. Parents must also be involved in their children’s education. The State of Indiana can help by encouraging parent-teacher conferences, rolling back the destructive decision by the Daniels administration to exclude these sessions from counting toward the required days of the school year.

     

    Support for Teachers and Schools. In decision after decision, the Daniels administration has tried to run Indiana’s schools like a business. In a business, it’s okay to cut things that don’t add to the bottom line, but in education, you’re saying a kids’ futures isn’t profitable enough to support. We’ve seen the same bad idea at work for a decade with No Child Left Behind, where support is taken away from the schools that need it most. All schools, whether thriving or struggling, must be properly funded. We ask a lot of our teachers, and the least we can do is give them the resources they need. It’s not something we like to hear, but we get what we pay for.

     

    Creative Cost Cutting. In order to properly support our schools, we must spend wisely and find creative ways to do more with less. I propose that we explore itemized budget reduction, meaning when the state reduces education budgets, it should include regulations as to how those cuts are applied, for instance, by reducing administrative costs rather than laying off teachers. We can also make our schools operate more efficiently by purchasing supplies in bulk and implementing a pay-to-play approach to athletics. Treating athletics as we treat band and other extracurricular activities sends a message that athletics are not a bigger priority for us than learning, especially when education budgets are stretched so thin. I also suggest that we explore alternatives to the traditional 180-day school year, such as the four-day school week. By slightly expanding the school day, Indiana schools could have the same number of classroom hours a year while also saving on costs such as lunches, transportation, and utilities. In school districts across the country where this has been implemented, student attendance and test scores have risen (associatedcontent.com, 8/12/10). If we’re smart with the steps we take, we can help our schools perform more efficiently and successfully than before. It’s a worthwhile investment in the future of Indiana’s students.

     

    This statement is available online at: www.facebook.com/EvanSmithStateRep

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    Keywords: Evan Smith, State Representative, 84th District, education reform, itemized budget reduction, diversity, conditions, parental involvement, funding, teachers, schools, cost cutting, itemized budget reduction, bulk purchasing, pay-to-play athletics

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  • FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has endorsed Evan Smith in the race for 84th District State Representative. Smith was one of only two challengers to State House incumbents endorsed by the group in Northeast Indiana, and the only one in the Fort Wayne area.

     

    “Seldom do we find a candidate of your caliber who has the... leadership and integrity to carry out the duties as State Representative, District 84, for the great State of Indiana,” said Tim E. Downs, president of Indiana State FOP, and David R. Cook, chairman of the FOP political action committee, in a message on behalf of the organization’s 14,000 members. “Your support and commitment to Indiana Law enforcement has not gone unnoticed.”

     

    “This endorsement is an incredible honor,” said Smith. “Like millions of Hoosiers, I am humbled by the heroic service the men and women of Indiana Law enforcement provide to keep our communities safe. I look forward to working with the Fraternal Order of Police as State Representative.”

     

    The Fort Wayne Education Association and Indiana State Teachers Association have also endorsed Smith.

     

    Evan Smith is a social studies teacher at North Side High School and a lifelong Fort Wayne resident. He is running to bring jobs to Indiana, improve education, and find sensible solutions to the challenges facing the state. To learn more about his campaign, visit www.facebook.com/EvanSmithStateRep.

     

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    Keywords: Evan Smith, Indiana State House of Representatives, 2010 election, Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police, endorsement, service

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  • FORT WAYNE, Ind. — In a press conference on the Allen County Courthouse lawn, Evan Smith, candidate for the Indiana State House of Representatives, 84th District, called for more rewards for Indiana businesses that create jobs.

     

    “Not only is Indiana facing 10 percent unemployment, but the people who have jobs are more overworked and less satisfied t...han ever,” said Smith. “By frontloading job creation into our economic recovery, we can have an immediate impact on both unemployment and the strain on our workforce.”

     

    Smith addressed this and other proposals as he unveiled his Framework for Indiana Jobs, which also included promoting jobs for recent graduates and investing in green technology to make Indiana a leader in the economic recovery.

     

    Full statement follows:

     

    Framework for Indiana Jobs

     

    Job creation will be my first priority as State Representative. Indiana currently has a 10 percent unemployment rate. Last spring, that statistic came to life for me when my teaching job at North Side High School was one of over 300 eliminated by Fort Wayne Community Schools. That was a scary experience, one that has a lot to do with why I’m running for office. I was fortunate enough to get my job back, but that has not been the case for thousands of Hoosiers. Last weekend, our country honored its workers. Today, I’m laying out the three points of my Framework for Indiana Jobs: support for businesses, coordination with education, and innovation through green technology.

     

    1. Support for businesses. In the 84th District, job creation relies especially on promoting our many small businesses. I propose this be done by building on the job creation rewards the state of Indiana offers, such as the EDGE tax credit, which rewards businesses for relocating to Indiana, and the federal Work Opportunities Tax Credit, which promotes hiring people such as disabled veterans and disconnected youth. In this troubled economy, we must go further. Businesses that are already here, many of them owned by our friends and neighbors, should also receive tax credits for adding any jobs to their payrolls. The conventional wisdom is that unemployment is the last thing to improve during an economic recovery. But we can’t afford to wait for that. Not only is Indiana facing 10 percent unemployment, but the people who have jobs are more overworked and less satisfied than ever (Newsweek, 8/15/10). By frontloading job creation into our economic recovery, we can have an immediate impact on both unemployment and the strain on our workforce.

     

    2. Coordination with education. Like much of Indiana, Fort Wayne is blessed with great colleges and universities — IPFW, Saint Francis, Indiana Tech, Ivy Tech, Concordia Seminary, to name a few. These institutions are already leaders in our community, and I believe they can lead Indiana to a brighter economic future. Mayor Tom Henry held a summit meeting between businesses and colleges so that colleges could fine-tune their degree offerings to the needs of local business. I recommend pursuing the flipside of this idea by rewarding businesses for creating jobs, or moving jobs to Indiana, that tap into the potential of the quality graduates of these institutions. We could accomplish this by offering tax credits for hiring new graduates directly or for creating jobs that match the major degree programs. By making it easier for new graduates to find work, Indiana can avoid the dreaded “brain drain” and equip itself with the leaders of a new economy.

     

    3. Innovation through green technology. Paul Romer once said, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” In their 2010 Labor Day message, the Catholic Bishops of the United States said, “We cannot create many new jobs unless there are new investments, initiatives, and creativity in the economy. … America is undergoing a rare economic transformation.” I propose that Indiana meet this challenge by investing in new, clean, efficient forms of energy and technology. Already Indiana receives federal grants to create green jobs. The state offers a tax credit to vehicle manufacturers for investing in alternative fuels, an issue championed by Senator Dick Lugar. We can go further by rewarding all businesses for going green, whether that’s through solar energy, recycling or some other step. This gives them an incentive to take these essential steps and creates a booming market for the green jobs being created in our state. Compared to other states, Indiana is in a relatively sound financial position. This isn’t the time to circle the wagons. This is the time to invest long-term in the technologies and jobs that will form the backbone of our rebuilt, revitalized economy and make Indiana a true economic leader.

     

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    Keywords: Evan Smith, Indiana State House of Representatives, 84th District, jobs, unemployment, small businesses, tax credits, new employees, education, brain drain, green energy, economy, recovery


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  • FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Evan Smith, candidate for the Indiana State House of Representatives, 84th District, has launched a page on the social networking site Facebook and a Twitter feed, www.facebook.com/EvanSmithStateRep and twitter.com/EvanSmith2010, respectively. According to Smith, his campaign’s move into social media, or Web 2.0, provides a cruci...al link to voters.

    “If you live in the 84th District, I want to hear your story,” said Smith. “Social media give people direct access to a candidate, as well as a forum for ideas and feedback. Whether the issue that concerns you is education, taxes, your job, or just how state government could better work for you, we need to talk. This is your opportunity to shape the agenda I bring with me to the State House.”

    The Evan Smith for State Rep. page on Facebook doubles as a campaign website, providing information about Smith and his platform. Along with an outlet for discussion, the Facebook and Twitter feeds will provide information on the campaign as it unfolds.

    Evan Smith, the Democratic candidate for the 84th District State House seat, is a social studies teacher at North Side High School in Fort Wayne and a lifelong resident of the Fort Wayne area. He is running to bring jobs to Fort Wayne, fix education, ease the property tax burden and find sensible solutions to the challenges facing Indiana.

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    Keywords: Evan Smith, Indiana State House of Representatives, 84th District, social media, Facebook, Twitter, voters, jobs, unemployment, education, taxes, Web 2.0

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