Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

January 29, 2013

It's time Indiana got off the dead horse

(Continued)

Gerstle and Cummins have been working to change that. In schools in and around Columbus, Cummins has invested significant resources, from funding early childhood education to help close the "achievement gap" suffered by too many low-income children, to partnering in innovative school-to-work training programs that propel students toward success.

There are signs that investment is paying off. The number of students in the Columbus schools, for example, who are graduating with a vocational/technical honors degree (which requires real-world work experience) is six times higher than the statewide rate.

Gerstle also warned his audience that the biggest stumbling block to innovation is the inability - or unwillingness - to see what's clearly not working. He told a funny story about how too often in education (and government and corporate America, as well) no one wants to admit that they're riding a dead horse. Instead, they opt for other strategies: They buy a stronger whip, or change riders, or threaten the horse with termination, or appoint a committee to study the horse, or reclassify the horse as "living impaired," or do anything except the obvious: Get off the dead horse.

- Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

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