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Posted on Sat. Dec. 15, 2012 - 12:01 am EDT

EXCERPTS FROM EVENING FORUM EDITORIALS

This Week

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A new path to the classroom

The Indiana State Board of Education voted last week to make it a little easier to become a teacher or school administrator in this state, and a lot of people invested in the status quo are quite upset about it. Current teachers and members of the teachers colleges that turn them out say the looser requirements will mean subjecting our children to lesser-qualified educators.

But that’s true only if we are to believe that the current credentialing process is turning out the best teachers possible. Just a cursory look at the kind of education being provided today should discredit that notion in a hurry.

Under the changes, a new “adjunct teacher permit” would be created allowing any bachelor’s degree holder with a 3.0 grade-point average and who can pass a subject test to teach that subject in a classroom.

Monday

A not-so-hot toll road deal?

Indiana has gotten a lot of infrastructure work done with the $3.8 billion it got for leasing the Indiana Toll Road to a private concessionaire, so it has to be conceded there were big benefits to the deal. But did those benefits outweigh the costs in revenues that have been lost to Hoosiers?

No, they did not, argues a new analysis by John Gilmour, a government professor at the College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Va.

He likens the lease to a home-equity loan and points out that most of the benefits from it are short- and medium-term, while most of the costs are long-term. That zeroes in on the greatest weakness of the lease, which we pointed out several times here during the original debate: 75 years is just too long to obligate future generations.

Tuesday

Our bad habits: No big surprise

What is the relationship between public policy and private behavior? Nowhere is that more interesting to study than on the issue of health.

In what should come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Indiana has slipped to the bottom 10 among states in the 23rd annual report on the nation’s health by the United Health Foundation. Our attention to health matters has always placed us low on the list, and this year we dropped four places to 41st.

For the sixth year, Vermont was rated the healthiest state, and Louisiana and Mississippi tied for last.

In one way, the report is misleading. Most of the criteria used – such as obesity, sedentary habits and smoking rates – are measures of individual behavior, and those have nothing to do with where people live.

Wednesday

How liable is a 12-year-old?

The Indiana Court of Appeals made the right call in its unanimous decision to toss the 25-year sentence of Paul Henry Gingerich for conspiracy to commit murder. The court didn’t say Gingerich, who was 12 at the time of his crime, should have been tried in juvenile court, merely that he was denied due process by the hurried way his case was moved to adult court.

The ruling said the juvenile court in Kosciusko County had “abused its discretion” in 2010 by not giving Gingerich’s attorneys more time to prepare their arguments. They were given only four business days. In similar cases in other counties, attorneys have been given as much as three months.

Facing the possibility of 45 years, Gingerich pleaded for the 25-year sentence. But he didn’t understand the proceedings, the court noted.

Thursday

A bad time to raise rates

Efforts are under way for the third time to make parking downtown more expensive. As in 1995 and 2006, parking meter rates would double from 25 cents to 50 cents an hour. Fines for parking illegally at a metered spot would also double, from $5 to $10, with the cost bumping up to $20 if the ticket isn’t paid within 30 days. The reasons for the increases haven’t improved with age, so perhaps City Council members should be as skeptical of the proposal as they were the last two times.

Last time around, officials said they needed to raise enough money to make the parking department self-sufficient. Maintaining the parking meters, in other words, is justification for making the use of them more expensive – the perpetuation of the department is the department’s main function.

Friday


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