"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, September 23, 2013

Why Daniel Elsener Must Be Removed from the Indiana State Board Of Education Now

Below are more than enough reasons why Daniel Elsener needs removed from the Indiana State Board of Education now.  This information comes from my soon-to-be-released book, Hoosier School Heist.  Below the entry please also read the statement from the Education Community Action Team & Parent Power Indianapolis, and be sure to email the necessary individuals listed below to voice your protest against Elsener and the state board:

v  Daniel Elsener is Indiana governor Mike Pence’s henchman on the Indiana State Board of Education and is trying to take all power away from the democratically-elected superintendent of education Glenda Ritz. Elsener is a Republican.  This means the Indiana State Board of Education has more Republicans onboard than Democrats, which is against Indiana law.

v  Daniel Elsener is the former leader of Christel DeHaan’s Family Foundation.  Former ousted Indiana superintendent of education Tony Bennett resigned in Florida recently for rigging the grade of DeHaan’s charter school while he was in Indiana because she was a big campaign donor.

v  Daniel Elsener is the president of Marian University, a Catholic school which runs the Turnaround Leadership Academy.

v  In order to work with twenty-two so-called “failing” public schools, Elsener and Marian’s Turnaround Leadership Academy used a $500,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Education in 2010 which was rewarded because of political connections.  Elsener was Tony Bennett’s wife’s boss when she worked for Teach for America at the campus and the grant-deal went down.

v  At Elsener’s Turnaround Leadership Academy, Teach for America, the New Teacher Project, Elli Lilly, right-wing think tanks, and Marian University train the corporate leaders who will hire temporary teachers to replace veterans when the state turns over their schools to for-profit companies who all have ties to or are campaign donors of Hoosier politicians.  

v  When first starting Elsener’s Turnaround Leadership Academy, Marian University consulted with Rob Smith, Lilly Foundation’s president and local Teach for America board member, Teach for America’s Jason Kloth (now Indy Mayor Ballard’s deputy mayor of education), and the Christian Right Kerns Family Foundation which paid the Sagamore Institute (formerly run by Mitch Daniels’ sister) to help align Marian and Notre Dame’s principal training programs with the Indiana Department of Education’s MBA-based guidelines.

v  Now managing school voucher money for parents and working hard to get the books of Mitch Daniels’ racist friend Bill Bennett taught in the Indiana schools, the Sagamore Institute is a free-market faith-based pseudo-research group which received state money to work with meth addicts and whose founding chairman was Indiana senator Dan Coats. 

v  For the MBA-shaped training program, the hundreds of millions of dollars-strong, liberal-promoted Teach for America seemed fine with Marian using content from the Center for Catholic Stewardship for its academy curriculum and had no problem being a part of the Christian Right-funded program. 

v  To pump out corporate school leaders to manage public schools like businesses, Elsener’s Marian now also teams with the Bradley Foundation-funded George W. Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership and hired Steve Farr, from Teach for America’s national office, to its faculty.

v   Elsener and Marian University teamed with the New Teacher Project and former Indy Mayor Peterson’s the Mind Trust in 2007 to form the Indianapolis Teaching Fellows program, which, according to the New Teacher Project website, has trained 300 temporary teachers for Indianapolis and Northwest Indiana.  Ariela Rozman, the New Teacher Project’s CEO, sits on the Mind Trust board.  From October 2011 to the end of September 2012, Rozman made a hair short of $300,000 in total compensation to plant short-term teachers across the country, even though she comes from the consulting and pharmaceutical industries and has no teaching experience.

v  Charles Schlegel teaches at Elsener and Marian University’s Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership which houses the Turnaround Leadership Academy.  Ironically, as principal at Wayland Middle School in Massachusetts, Schlegel violated 2008 campaign laws when he sent emails through his school address to parents, begging them to support a local property tax increase to fund the schools.  Now back in Indiana, Schlegel—a Teach for America operative—made $120,000 for running the libertarian Challenge Foundation Academy Indy in the tax year ending in June 2011.  Mindy, Schlegel’s wife, was the senior advisor for teacher quality at the Indiana Department of Education, where she helped rewrite the teacher evaluation method. A Democrats for Education Reform hedge-fund group member, she also sits on the board of the Indianapolis KIPP charter school with Claire Fiddian-Green, who is a former Mind Trust and Indiana Charter School Board leader and now works for Mike Pence to help privatize Indiana public education.  Mindy, too, is a former Teach for America member.

v   In April 2011, a Teach for America graduate attending Elsener and Marian University’s Academy for Teaching and Learning Leadership was featured in Mitch Daniels’ Aiming Higher PAC’s anti-teacher seniority TV ad.  A Teach for America alumnus and Harshman Magnet Middle School teacher, Pam Heuer protested that although she raised her students’ reading scores, she was laid off from the Indianapolis school district in 2009 because she was the last one hired.  The school district rehired Heuer before the next school year started, but Daniels’ ad producers didn’t mind using Heuer for their mostly out-of-state-funded agenda. Now a manager for Teach for America in Indianapolis, Heuer was invited to the Bill Gates-financed NBC Education Nation, a free promotion week for charter schools, school vouchers, and anti-seniority billionaires, where she elbowed with Arne Duncan and Michelle Rhee.  Heuer has also made videos for Stand for Children, another Mind Trust/Joyce Foundation-funded anti-teacher seniority clique. The Hollywood fantasy Waiting for Superman director, Davis Guggenheim, touted Heuer as one of the top ten teachers in America.

v  Then there’s Marian University student and Indiana Charter School Board member Jamie Garwood.  When the Indiana State Ethics Commission ruled that Garwood could not participate in the authorizing board discussions concerning the Urban League’s charter school application for Fort Wayne, since she was the Urban League’s director of development, the Indiana Charter School Board approved Urban League’s request to allow American Quality Schools to run the charter school anyway, after Garwood promoted it on TV. 

Elsener needs removed from the Indiana State Board of Education, and the board and Mike Pence need to let Glenda Ritz do what the people of Indiana elected her to do: to stop the crony capitalism and government-corporate-theocratic takeover of Indiana public education.
Statement from the Education Community Action Team & Parent Power Indianapolis
Glenda Ritz already has the strategic plan via her campaign platform that Indiana voters approved, Mr. Elsner.  Time for you to resign because you are not representing the people of Indiana, are wasting SBOE resources and tax payer's money!
Daniel Elsner blatantly has disrespected the majority of Indiana voters who have voted Glenda Ritz into the office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in Indiana when he nominated himself as head of a new SBOE committee to come up with the strategic plans for Indiana's education.  In addition, many reports have come forth concerning his disrespectful behavior towards Glenda Ritz in SBOE meetings.  These are not only grabs for power from the Marian University President but are very converse to the University's very own Franciscan Values: dignity of the individual, peace and justice, reconciliation, responsible stewardship.  Doug Martin's upcoming book outlines many of the affronts to Marian University's values in which Elsner has partaken. It is time to demand his resignation from the SBOE and ask the Marion University's Cabinet why they have a leader who does not value their values.
Daniel J. Elsener
president@marian.edu, delsener@marian.edu

Thomas J. Enneking, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost

Daniel Conway
Senior Vice President for Planning, Marketing, and Advancement

Mark Apple
Vice President for Marketing Communications

Kenith Britt, Ph.D.
Vice President for Advancement and Marketing Operations

Sr. Jean Marie Cleveland, OSF
Vice President for Mission Effectiveness

Ruth Rodgers
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Vice President and Dean of the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Gregory A. Ginder
Vice President for Finance and Business Operations

Deborah A. Lawrence, J.D.
Vice President for Administration and General Counsel

Peter Williams
Assistant Vice President and Chief Information Officer








  1. Terrific research. Thanks, Doug, and welcome aboard.

  2. Thanks, Jim! Glad to be here!!!

  3. So embarrased to be a Marian grad. I understand that Elsener is in Europe right now.

  4. Thank you for your research into all of this, but it doesn't quite make the case that Elsener did anything illegal. As a State Board of Ed. member, did he actually vote for contracts, rules, and/or programs that enriched him or his university? If so, is there any evidence that he sought rulings from the State Ethics Commission before doing so? Do the entities like Teach for America who are now located at Marian University enrich Elsener and/or the University financially? Have they made large contributions to the University's fund-raising campaigns or to Elsener personally? Was some sort of quid pro quo involved for Elsener to hire Tony Bennett's wife or to gain the contracts for the Turnaround Academy, TFA, etc.? Did Dan Elsener correspond with Tony Bennett about campaign matters on state computers? How many State Board of Ed. hearings (as differentiated from meetings) did Dan Elsener fail to attend?

    Thank you for your work so far. I'm looking forward to updates.

  5. Anonymous11:35 AM

    Thanks for the info. What a MONEY trail!

  6. Anonymous1:00 AM

    He needs to be removed as President of Marian University too.

  7. Anonymous8:09 PM

    I just ordered Hoosier Education Heist. I have a feeling it is going to be dog-eared and full of underlining and notations before I finish it.

  8. Democrats are a bunch of cry babies. When they are in the majority they use and abuse their powers but when they are not a majority they cry foul. Get use to the fact that Mike Pence is the Governor of Indiana

  9. Anonymous10:07 AM

    Here is the deal. Dan Elsener's job is to ask for money from the wealthy to keep his college going. To do his job he has to do just what they want; become like-minded with his donors. In their minds teachers get paid too much and do not deserve pensions.

    Public schools should be run like businesses that are nonunion where owners have free rein to fire for whatever reason pleases them.

    This is also about finding a way to get public funds into catholic schools. Catholic schools where teachers are poorly compensated and subject for dismissal at a whim.

    Dan is scratching the itch of his donors and nothing more. It is all politics and you must fight them tooth and nail.

    Dan is more than a little disingenuous in that it was a very pro-union man that raised, fed, clothed and educated him on union wages him.

    Jim Elsener